Connie Butler Leaves MoMA to Become Head Curator at L.A.'s Hammer Museum

Connie Butler Leaves MoMA to Become Head Curator at L.A.'s Hammer Museum
Connie Butler
(Eric Gardner)

The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles has appointed Connie Butler as chief curator. In her new role, Butler, who recently resigned from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, will be in charge of developing and organizing exhibitions, building the Hammer’s contemporary collection, and overseeing its artist residency program and artist council.

In mid-April, the Hammer confirmed Butler’s appointment as a co-curator of its 2014 biennial, “Made in L.A.,” but only as a replacement for Karin Higa, who withdrew from the role for health reasons, according to a story in the L.A. Times. At the time, Butler had said she expected to fly back and forth a lot between the East Coast and the West Coast.


ARTINFO has learned that Butler has since resigned from her position at MoMA as the Robert Lehman Foundation chief curator of drawings, a position she had held since 2006. The departments of Drawings and of Prints and Illustrated Books are being combined into the Department of Prints and Drawings as of July 1. Christophe Cherix will be the chief curator of the combined department.

During her tenure at MoMA, Butler played a major role in numerous influential and well-received shows, including “On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century,” which ran from late 2010 to early 2011 at MoMA, and  “Greater New York” at MoMA PS1 in 2010.

Butler is replacing Douglas Fogle, who left the Hammer in 2011. She was formerly a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, from 1996 to 2006. In a statement, Hammer director Ann Philbin said, “Connie is returning to L.A. after an impressive tenure at MoMA and the Hammer is thrilled to be welcoming her back to this community — one she knows very well.” Her new appointment at the Hammer is effective in July.

In the same statement, Butler adds: “Los Angeles is a great city for the production of art and the Hammer is a museum with artists at its center… I look forward to bringing my vision, both as a recent outsider, but also as someone with a long history in Los Angeles, to the museum.”

The museum also announced the appointment of Aram Moshayedi to a newly created curator position, also effective in July. Since 2010, Moshayedi has served as associate curator of the gallery at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), where he organized exhibitions and oversaw production of new works by various artists.