The Harry Ransom Center has appointed Jessica S. McDonald, a curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as its new chief curator of photography.
As the Nancy Inman and Marlene Nathan Meyerson Curator of Photography, McDonald will oversee a collection that spans from the world’s earliest-known photograph to prints from some of the great masters of the twenty-first century. The Center’s photography holdings include the Helmut and Alison Gernsheim collection, a seminal collection of the history of photography and one of the world’s premier sources for the study and appreciation of photography.
In addition to the history of photography, the Ransom Center’s photography collection focuses on photojournalism and documentary photography, with holdings of more than 5 million prints and negatives, supplemented by books, manuscripts, journals and memorabilia of photographers.
“McDonald’s broad experiences from teaching to curatorial confirmed that she can lead our photography department, build the collection, support research and plan exhibitions,” said Ransom Center Director Thomas F. Staley. “The possibilities under her guidance are exciting.”
McDonald’s professional experience includes affiliations with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Visual Studies Workshop and George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. In 2011, McDonald received an Ansel Adams Research Fellowship from the Center for Creative Photography.
McDonald recently curated the exhibition “Photography in Mexico: Selected Works from the Collections of SFMOMA and Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser” and edited the anthology “Nathan Lyons: Selected Essays, Lectures, and Interviews,” which University of Texas Press published in June.
Upcoming photography exhibitions at the Ransom Center include a spring 2013 exhibition on photographer Arnold Newman and a fall 2014 exhibition on the Magnum Photos collection. Both collections reside at the Ransom Center.
McDonald begins her position at the Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, in September.