Yale University Art Gallery Appoints Judy Ditner as the Richard Benson Assistant Curator of Photography and Digital Media

Judy Ditner, the Richard Benson Assistant Curator of Photography and Digital Media, in the Jane and Richard Levin Study Gallery, Yale University Art Gallery

The Yale University Art Gallery is pleased to announce the appointment of Judy Ditner as the Richard Benson Assistant Curator of Photography and Digital Media, beginning April 29, 2016. Over the past ten years, Ditner has worked as a curator, editor, and collections manager for museums, private art foundations, and university and private collections in the United States, Canada, and South Korea. Her exhibition experience ranges from focused collection-based exhibitions to large-scale international biennials, and in 2010 she was one of three assistant curators for 10,000 Lives, the eighth edition of the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. In addition to her curatorial experience, Ditner has taught courses and lectured on the history of photography and contemporary art at Boston University; the Photographic Resource Center, in Boston; Amherst College, in Massachusetts; and Ryerson University, in Toronto. She received her PH.D. from Boston University in 2015, and her dissertation, “Art Is a Lie that Makes Us Realize Truth: Walid Raad’s Abstract Realism,” investigates the unconventional uses of photography in the work of this American-Lebanese artist.

In addition to the 2010 Gwangju Biennale, Ditner’s curatorial experience includes work on Ostalgia at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (July–September 2011); Dress Codes: The 3rd ICP Triennial at the International Center of Photography, New York (October 2009–January 2010); and three exhibitions related to the Black Star Collection at Ryerson University. Ditner has published on the work of artists including Kota Ezawa, Tanya Marcuse, Wangechi Mutu, Tod Papageorge, Lorna Simpson, Milagros de la Torre, and Brett Weston. Her primary areas of interest are war imagery, journalism, global issues, and the politics of truth and reality. Woven into her teaching, scholarship, and curatorial work are sustained commitments to human rights work and environmental activism.

“This is an exciting time for photography, both as a medium and at the Gallery,” Ditner says. “The photography collection is one of the fastest-growing areas at the Gallery, and I am excited to continue this growth. I hope specifically to expand the presence of contemporary and international artists while developing exhibitions that bring historical and contemporary material into dialogue.”

Pamela Franks, Deputy Director for Exhibitions, Programming, and Education and the Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, explains, “Judy brings a passion for the full history of photography and a deep commitment to teaching with collections that together make her ideally suited for the Yale University Art Gallery. Her experience with the large Black Star Collection will be invaluable as she works with recent acquisitions such as the archives of the Famous Photographers School and objects from the Lucien Aigner and Meserve-Kunhardt collections. In addition, Judy’s strong engagement with contemporary photography will serve the Gallery well as we move more and more into collecting time-based media and other contemporary photographic-based arts that are so very interesting to students and to all of our audiences today.”

About the Photography Collection

The Gallery began actively collecting photography in 1971, when it acquired 25 prints by Walker Evans. Today the Gallery’s collection of over 12,000 photographs spans the history of the medium, with particular emphasis on work made in America during the 20th century.

Anchoring the collection are master sets by Robert Adams and Lee Friedlander as well as significant concentrations of works by Man Ray and Walker Evans. The collection has strong examples from the tradition of street photography, including works by Robert Frank, Lewis Hine, Helen Levitt, and Garry Winogrand. Also notable are pictures addressing the subjects of war and social upheaval by photographers such as Larry Burrows, Dorothea Lange, Charles Moore, and W. Eugene Smith.

Committed to collecting the work of significant contemporary artists, the Gallery has acquired key works by Gregory Crewdson, Lisa Kereszi, Christian Marclay, Shirin Neshat, Judith Joy Ross, Mark Ruwedel, Carrie Mae Weems, James Welling, Zhang Huan, and others. The Gallery proudly features photographs by some of the medium’s most influential educators—including Richard Benson, Emmet Gowin, Nathan Lyons, and Tod Papageorge—as well as examples by prominent graduates from the Yale School of Art.