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New face at the helm of Architecture & Design at MoMA
Jul 24, 2014

Martino Stierli has been named The Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Currently the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the Institute of Art History of the University of Zurich, Stierli teaches the history of modern architecture, and will move stateside to begin his new position in March.

Martino Stierli
“Since its inception, MoMA has presented groundbreaking exhibitions that promote and critically reflect upon modern and contemporary architecture,” said Stierli. “By continually expanding its comprehensive collection, the Department of Architecture and Design has been pivotal to the preservation of modernism for the future, and to making that heritage accessible to scholars and the broader public alike. I am excited to continue this tradition at MoMA and look forward to working with the Museum’s extraordinary team to contribute to shaping the current discourse on architecture and the city—locally, nationally and globally.”
In his new role, Stierli will oversee the Department of Architecture and Design’s wide-ranging program of special exhibitions, installations from the collection, and acquisitions. He succeeds Barry Bergdoll, who stepped down in 2013 to become the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, and who remains a part-time curator at MoMA.
“The breadth and depth of Martino’s scholarship, knowledge, and interests in architecture, design and modern art are impressive,” said Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art. “He brings an international perspective and possesses an extraordinary ability to brilliantly relate architecture and its image to its cultural context. With his solid grounding in the history of modern architecture and art, coupled with a keen interest in contemporary practice, Martino will be an effective and energetic leader.”
Stierli studied art and architectural history, German, and comparative literature at the University of Zurich, where he received his M.A. in 2003. From 2003 to 2007, he was part of the graduate program “Urban Forms—Conditions and Consequences” at ETH Zurich, from which he received his Ph.D. in 2008. During this time, he was also a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania and at Columbia University in New York.
Currently at the University of Zurich, Stierli’s research focuses on architecture and media, the photographic and cinematic representation of architecture and the city, the intersection of architecture and art, the role of travel in architectural education, and on architectural devices of framing and display. His project The Architecture of Hedonism: Three Villas in the Island of Capri is currently included in the 14th Architecture Biennale in Venice.
Additionally, he was a postdoctoral researcher in the National Center of Competence in Research “Iconic Criticism” at the University of Basel and the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich. In 2012, he was a fellow at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles. Mr. Stierli taught at various Swiss universities, including the universities of Zurich and Basel, as well as ETH Zurich before being appointed to his current post.
His first monograph, Las Vegas in the Rearview Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and Film, was published in 2010, the English edition of which was published in 2013 with the Getty Research Institute. He also authored a book on Robert Venturi’s two-year tenure at the American Academy in Rome in the mid-1950s, and has published a large number of essays on various topics, and has written extensively on contemporary architectural practice, including the work of Herzog & de Meuron, the recent global boom in high-rise buildings, and the architecture of Johnston Marklee.
Stierli’s work and research have been awarded with a number of prestigious prizes, among them the ETH Medal of Distinction for Outstanding Research (2008), the Theodor Fischer Prize by the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich (2008), and the 2011 Swiss Art Award for Architectural Criticism. He has received research, travel, and presentation grants from the Swiss National Science Foundation; the Society of Architectural Historians; the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago; and the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, among others.

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