©Alessandro Frigerio Zurich
©Alessandro Frigerio Zurich

The Museum of Modern Art appointed Martino Stierli as the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, museum director Glenn D. Lowry announced today. Stierli is currently the Swiss National Science Foundation Professor at the Institute of Art History at the University of Zurich, where he teaches the history of modern architecture. His research focuses on architecture and media, the photographic and cinematic portrayals of architecture in cities, and the joining of architecture and art. Stierli was a fellow with the Getty Research Institute, which published his study, Las Vegas and the Rear-View Mirror: The City in Theory, Photography, and FilmHe has also written a book and several essays on various topics relating to architecture, art, and history. His project, The Architecture of Hedonism: Three Villas in the Island of Capriis currently included in the Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Stierli has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes for his work, including the 2008 ETH Medal of Distinction for Outstanding Research; the 2008 Theodor Fischer Prize by the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich; and the 2011 Swiss Art Award for Architectural Criticism. He has also 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, the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; and others.

“The breadth and depth of Martino’s scholarship, knowledge, and interests in architecture, design, and modern art are impressive,” Lowry said in a press release. “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.”

At MoMA, Stierli will manage the special exhibitions, installations from the collection, and acquisitions of its Department of Architecture and Design, which was established in 1932 as the world's first curatorial department devoted to exhibiting the works of architects and designers. “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,” Stierli said in a press release.

Stierli will take over in March 2015, succeeding Barry Bergdoll, who held the position from 2007 to 2013, when he stepped down to become the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University.