The New York Public Library Names Joshua Chuang the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Associate Director for Arts, Prints and Photographs

JULY 14, 2016: The New York Public Library has named Joshua Chuang—former Chief Curator of the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography (CCP)— the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Associate Director for Art, Prints and Photographs, and The Robert B. Menschel Senior Curator of Photography.

Established in 1987 with a gift from the Wallach family, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs includes works of art as well as reference materials on painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography and the history of architecture from prehistoric times to the present. The Division includes:  

  • The Print Collection: The most accessible print room in NYC, the collection encompasses over 250,000 prints along with a specialized reference collection of over 15,000 volumes on the history of prints and printmakers. Highlights include early Mary Cassatt prints and 18th-19th-century Japanese color woodcuts.

  • The Spencer Collection: With approximately 6,000 items, the Spencer Collection surveys the illustrated word and book bindings of all periods and all countries and cultures, from medieval manuscripts, Japanese scrolls, and Indian miniatures to monuments in Renaissance printing, illustration and binding to contemporary livres d'artistes.

  • The Photography Collection: Comprised of approximately 500,000 photographs, the collection includes examples of almost every photographic process from the earliest daguerreotypes to digital images. Researchers, scholars, and students from around the world can consult the materials onsite and online. Works from Berenice Abbott, Diane Arbus and the FSA can all be found in the collection.

  • The Art and Architecture Division: With 600,000 books and journals, and an additional 423 linear feet linear of artists files and pamphlets, this collection includes materials relating to the fine arts, decoration, art history, architectural history, design, and theory including monographs, exhibition catalogs, auction records, periodicals, ephemera, oeuvre and catalogues raisonnés. ​

In his new role, Chuang will be responsible for the oversight of Wallach’s staff, services, collecting and finances, and participate in the creative use and reuse of Library spaces, supporting the seamless integration of study, learning, and research with library collections and services across disciplines. Additionally, the position will lead Wallach staff in collaboration with colleagues in Collections Strategy, NYPL Labs, Exhibitions, Educational Outreach, Special Collections, Development and Communications.

“Joshua’s extensive experience and creative spirit make him a perfect fit to lead our renowned Wallach Division,” said William P. Kelly, Andrew W. Mellon Director of the Research Libraries. “He is a proven leader who has worked with curators, fellows and students, collaborated on books and exhibitions, and promoted engagement with collections through public programs, displays, and artistic collaboration. The Library looks forward to his arrival.”

Among the exhibitions Chuang organized at the CCP were Astronomical, a survey of astrophotography’s history highlighting the University’s role in the advancing our exploration of outer space; and The Pure Products of America Go Crazy (featuring the work of Lucas Blalock, Owen Kydd, and John Lehr), a catalytic dialogue between pictures by three contemporary photographers with those of earlier practitioners such as Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Charles Sheeler.

Prior to the CCP, Chuang was the inaugural Richard Benson Associate Curator of Photography and Digital Media at the Yale University Art Gallery where he led efforts to acquire singular bodies of work and related archive materials by Robert Adams, Walker Evans, and Lee Friedlander. Working closely with the Gallery’s director, he helped build the quality and breadth of Yale’s teaching collection of photographs into one of international distinction. Chuang received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth, and holds an MBA from Yale.

"The New York Public Library has long recognized the importance of the visual arts to our shared culture and history,” said Chuang. “I am especially delighted to be joining the Library at a time when images have become an even more indispensable form of communication and expression—worthy of collecting, preserving, and making accessible with the same commitment and urgency as the written word."

Contact: Sara Beth Joren |

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