Gagosian Gallery is doubling down on photography, anointing a dedicated director—who comes with serious institutional credit—to a newly created role at the helm of that department.
Joshua Chuang, who will officially join the gallery this month, previously held curatorial and leadership positions at the New York Public Library, the Center for Creative Photography, and Yale University Art Gallery. In his new role, Chuang will oversee a global strategy for engaging with and exhibiting artists working with the photographic medium.
“With recent and upcoming presentations of the work of Richard Avedon, Roe Etheridge, Andreas Gursky, Sally Mann, Taryn Simon, and Jeff Wall, alongside the addition to our roster of artists including Nan Goldin, Deana Lawson, and the estate of Francesca Woodman, Josh’s appointment comes at a particularly dynamic time for the gallery,” said Kara Vander Weg, the gallery’s senior director. “We are thrilled to welcome him.”
In a phone interview with Artnet News, Chuang said he has been in discussions with the gallery for the past several months. “The gallery has represented some iconic photographers. I think it hasn’t, however, thought of the medium of photography as a program within its larger exhibition program, and when I began talking to them it seemed very clear to me that they wanted to change that.”
Goldin, one of the world’s most famous photographers, joined the gallery in late March, leaving her longtime representation at Marian Goodman Gallery.
What piqued Chuang’s interest “was also this larger conversation about what the gallery, with its platform, could do with the medium of photography at this present moment in time,” he said.
A number of artists in the existing gallery roster employ photography, Chuang noted. “Not only Taryn Simon, Roe Etheridge, and Sally Mann, but Michael Heizer made photographs. Ed Ruscha was a photographer,” he said.
Most recently, Chuang was the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach associate director for art, prints, and photographs, as well as the Robert B. Menschel senior curator of photography at the New York Public Library. His six years at the NYPL followed two years as the chief curator at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Ariz., and nine years at Yale University Art Gallery in various curatorial positions. He has also produced photo books, and has worked with Steidl, Yale University Press, MACK, and Aperture to realize more than two dozen monographs.
While Chuang said his passion for highlighting the medium and its stars won’t change when he makes the leap from a curatorial and institutional context to a commercial gallery, but “obviously the resources” are more robust. “This machine is much more agile. It can respond more quickly to things going on in the world.”
Chuang will likely work out of Gagosian’s Madison Avenue branch but will also float as needed to oversee various shows. A major show of work by Richard Avedon continues through July 7 at the gallery’s 21st Street location in Chelsea.