Released May 22, 2008
Salem, Mass.- The Peabody Essex Museum is pleased to announce the appointment of Phillip Prodger as its first full-time Curator of Photography.
Most recently, Prodger was the Lisette Model and Joseph G. Blum Fellow in History of Photography at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. As a curator, Prodger organized numerous exhibitions around the world for esteemed institutions such as the Beijing Museum of World Art, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes in France, the Museum of Photography in South Korea, and the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. Among his curatorial credits are major exhibitions of European Pictorial Photography, Eadweard Muybridge, the art of the 1904 World's Fair and a Jerry Uelsmann retrospective.
"We are delighted that Phillip is joining the Peabody Essex Museum," said Dan L. Monroe, Executive Director and CEO. "His broad-ranging expertise will provide the leadership for building a dynamic photography program with an international scope."
Prodger has also served as the Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs for the Saint Louis Art Museum in Missouri. The new curator holds a PhD/MA in art history from the University of Cambridge, England, and an MA in art history from Stanford University. He is the author of five books, among them Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement (2003), Impressionist Camera: Pictorial Photography in Europe, 1888-1918 (2006), and Darwin's Camera: Art and Photography in the Theory of Evolution (forthcoming 2008). Prodger has also published numerous articles on photography, and his consulting activities have most recently included assisting with the E. O. Hoppé and Paul Outerbridge archives in Los Angeles, California.
"As someone who grew up partly in New England and partly in Hong Kong, and who visited the former Peabody Museum as a boy, becoming a curator at the Peabody Essex Museum is a dream come true," said Prodger. "I am excited to be joining the museum at such a pivotal time in its history, and I'm honored to be its first full-time curator of photography. The museum has one of the world's great photography collections, and there is enormous potential to build an ever more distinguished exhibitions program.
Prodger's responsibilities will emphasize developing exhibitions, installations, and publications that provide fresh perspectives on photography as an integral part of the global dialogue of art and culture and that create opportunities to feature and build PEM's photography collection.
"Establishing a curatorial position dedicated to photography will drive our already-strong initiatives in this area to greater success," says Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, PEM's James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Chief Curator. "Our shows such as Kenro Izu: Sacred Places, Havana: Photographs by Robert Polidori, Air Lines: Photographs of Alex MacLean, and Yangtze Remembered: The River Beneath the Lake have all whet our audience's appetite for photography. Now, with Phillip joining us, PEM is well positioned to offer a comprehensive and adventurous photography program."
PEM's extensive collection of several hundred thousand photographs represents nearly every kind of photographic format and process. It includes some of the world's finest 19th-and early 20th-century photographs of Asia, as well as historic and modern American photography, especially related to New England, the maritime world, and Native American life. Recent additions to the collection have focused on contemporary photography.