Houghton Endows Contemporary Art Curatorship

The Harvard University Art Museums announced Friday that Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation James R. Houghton ’58 and wife Maisie K. Houghton ’62 have endowed the contemporary art curatorship currently held by Helen Molesworth.

Molesworth was tapped by the University last year to serve as the first full curator for contemporary art at the Art Museums. She began her duties earlier this month.

“The Houghtons’ gift is both financially and symbolically important,” Molesworth said, adding that the endowment “displays a strong commitment to art of our time.”

James Houghton said in a press release that he and his wife were “delighted” to be able to support Harvard’s museums.

Houghton was out of the country this weekend and could not be reached for comment.

As curator, Molesworth’s work includes acquiring new works, installing and arranging works from the permanent collection, and designing exhibitions.

Molesworth said she hopes that her installation of the permanent collection will “offer a rich and complex narrative about development and competing ideas of living artists.”

In February 2006, the Art Museums released a plan to reinvent their renowned collection with an eye toward the expansion in Allston.

Molesworth said that the proposed Allston-Brighton Art Center would provide additional space for works of modern and contemporary art, which are often larger than pieces from other genres and which the Fogg Museum cannot accommodate.

Houghton said in the press release that he and his wife have been impressed by Cabot Director of the Harvard University Art Museums Thomas W. Lentz’s outlook for the museums in the future.

“We applaud his vision to create a new art center in Allston focusing on contemporary art, as well as his plan to renovate and transform the Art Museums’ facilities at 32 Quincy Street,” Houghton said.