Appointment will contribute to the museum’s 21st-century vision and comes on the heels of a major new media acquisition
Maggie Dethloff, former Capital Group Foundation curatorial fellow for photography at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, was named assistant curator of photography and new media for the museum. She began her new role December 2.
“Maggie brings a thorough understanding of the Cantor’s photography collection and how it can be used as an essential resource for teaching and learning about photographic images, how they’re made and what they say,” said John and Jill Friedenrich Director of the Cantor Susan Dackerman. “She also brings ideas for how to build the museum’s existing commitment to photography through innovative exhibitions and key new acquisitions, including in the new media field which promises to advance dialogue on contemporary issues about digital communication, computing and augmented and virtual reality in our daily lives.”
Since joining the Cantor this fall, Dethloff contributed to research and scholarly programming for students and faculty related to the Capital Group Foundation Collection, a spring 2019 gift to the Cantor of more than 1,000 photographs by American photographers Ansel Adams, Edward Curtis, John Gutmann, Helen Levitt, Wright Morris, Gordon Parks and Edward Weston. The first exhibition utilizing works from the donation by Ansel Adams and Edward Curtis, organized by Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator and Director of the Curatorial Fellowship Program Elizabeth Mitchell, is currently on view.
In addition, Dethloff made a foundational acquisition for the Cantor’s growing collection of new media artwork: Ian Cheng’s Emissary Sunsets the Self (2017). In this “video game that plays itself,” as the artist described it, characters in a simulated environment eternally evolve and develop consciousness through video game and algorithmic methods, speaking to how digital technology, artificial intelligence and new media art contribute to inquiries about the nature of human life.
“New media artwork is not only highly relevant to the Cantor’s goals because of its timely use of vanguard technology, especially considering our location in Silicon Valley, but also because it opens up new avenues for artistic expression and engagement with contemporary issues,” Dethloff said. “I am particularly excited to explore photography and new media in concert, not only by collecting to highlight the artistic lineage shared by the two mediums, but also through exhibitions and other projects that investigate the creative potential of a range of alternative, unusual and new artistic processes.”
Prior to joining the Cantor, Dethloff worked as the first curatorial graduate student researcher at the University of California, Irvine Institute and Museum of California Art. She was Andrew W. Mellon Post-Baccalaureate Curatorial Fellow and Acting Curator of American Art at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, where she co-curated numerous exhibitions including PHOTOdocument: Twentieth-Century American Photography and Found Text. In addition, Dethloff held numerous curatorial internships, including at the Center for Creative Photography and National Gallery of Art. She expects to complete her doctoral degree in visual studies at the University of California, Irvine this month.
Dethloff joins a rapidly transforming Cantor, which is enacting a new vision to act as an interdisciplinary, inclusive and forward-facing hub for discovery while bridging academic research with public interest.
“I look forward to contributing to the Cantor’s aim of exploring what it means to be a 21st-century museum,” she said.