Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, a much-praised exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art scheduled to close next week, is the latest noteworthy project of curator Jodi Hauptman ’86, who also has helped MoMA showcase works by Georges Seurat and Odilon Redon in recent years. The Matisse exhibition was organized by Karl Buchberg, senior conservator at MoMA, and Hauptman, along with assistant curator Samantha Friedman.
The exhibition and a companion publication, co-authored by Hauptman, explore Matisse’s materials and methods, and how the cut-outs, created late in the artist’s life, fit into the broader context of his career. In a New York Times interview last June, Hauptman debunked one commonly held belief about Matisse’s choice of medium: “It was always thought that he was too frail to paint and hence turned to cut-outs, but we believe cut-outs allowed him to answer questions about color and drawing, bringing them together.”
While The Cut-Outs earned critical acclaim and a healthy stream of visitors, it also broke new ground in the art world when it kicked off a film series of exhibitions, screened at movie theaters around the country.
Hauptman, who majored in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, studied art history at Yale, earning her Ph.D. She joined MoMA in 2002 and was promoted to senior curator in the department of drawings and prints last year.