Peter Galassi is an American curator and writer of photography
Episode 163: Peter Galassi is a giant in the field of photography.
His tenure as Chief Curator of Photography at MoMa is considered to be, along with his predecessor John Szarkowski as the moment in which photography came of age within the institution and the market. His tenure saw the expansion of photography with the rise of the market as a collectible medium full of surprises. He was Chief Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) from 1991 to 2011. Earlier at MoMA he was Curatorial Intern (1974–75), Associate Curator (1981-86), and Curator (1986-91).
This was a dream episode for me to make. I have known of Peter’s work since my own initiation into photography a few decades previous. I came across the idea of having a conversation with Peter when thinking through curators to get in contact with during lockdown. There were a few strange moments that co-aligned with my thinking about Peter’s work when I was reminded via social media on two separate accounts of his The Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort exhibition from 1991. The catalogue of the exhibition kept coming up in conversation regarding our own contemporary moment and I thought it was pertinent to reach out to Peter. I want to give special thanks to Zach at Howard Greenberg for help.
In this episode, we speak widely on Peter’s career, but also the history of photography at MoMA itself. Peter was gracious when speaking with me about his time at the museum. We also spoke a little bit about his recent exhibitions and books related to both Brassai and his contributions to Proof: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet from the Collection of Mark Schwartz + Bettina Katz The episode is full of animated moments and great insight. I am honoured to have facilitated this for Nearest Truth. I still feel that photography lacks more stories about individuals behind the medium and catching up with giants like Peter makes me think I can help to expand our dialogue with it. Thank you for listening.