The Denver Art Museum (DAM) announced today the appointment of Eric Paddock as its new Curator of Photography and Media Arts. Paddock will develop and shape the direction of the DAM’s new Department of Photography and Media Arts. A commitment has been made to establish long-term funding for this position and for the photography department endowment by longtime photography supporters Evan Anderman, John Grant, Robert G. Lewis and Anthony Mayer. Paddock will begin work at the DAM in mid-summer 2008 after spending 25 years as the Colorado Historical Society’s (CHS) Curator of Photography and Film. Paddock was the first photography curator of CHS. During his tenure, Paddock more than doubled the size of the photography collection, from 300,000 photographs to more than 800,000 and 32,000 motion picture films relating to Colorado and the West. He also created several highly regarded exhibitions and established interpretive programs. Originally from Boulder, Paddock holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colorado College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from Yale University. In addition to his role at the Colorado Historical Society, Paddock also has taught as a visiting professor of art history and photography for several leading Colorado institutions, including the University of Denver, the University of Colorado at Denver, Colorado College and Arapahoe Community College’s study abroad arts program in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Paddock will evaluate the DAM’s current photography collection of more than 7,000 works, which previously was housed in the Modern and Contemporary Art department, shaping a new program for the future. “Major changes over the last 18 months have allowed the Denver Art Museum to look at the collections differently and bring focus to new areas. We are thrilled to have Eric on board and look forward to his vision and insight,” said Denver Art Museum Director Lewis Sharp. “We are fortunate to have in Eric an amazing resource with a deep understanding of Colorado and its cultural organizations and look to this position as a bridge between the city’s great photographic holdings.” Colorado Historical Society President & CEO Edward C. Nichols noted that Paddock has been instrumental in building the Colorado Historical Society’s renowned photography collection, providing for its long term care and preservation, while using it to encourage public access through cataloging and the Stephen H. Hart research library. This collection has helped to raise public awareness of Colorado history and the medium of photography through exhibits, publications and public programs. “We are fortunate to have had 25 years of Eric’s expertise, dedication and attention to the Colorado Historical Society’s photography collections—he will no doubt prove to be just as valuable a resource to the DAM,” said Nichols. “Eric and the photography department built a very strong foundation from which we will be able to launch exciting endeavors in the new Colorado History Museum.” While at the Colorado Historical Society, Paddock became an expert on the history of photography in the American West, and especially Colorado. “I love the Colorado Historical Society and look forward to finding ways to collaborate within this new position,” said Paddock. “With the Denver Art Museum, I have an opportunity to fit what I already know into the wider picture and to learn about whole new worlds ofphotography that I haven’t studied yet.”
The Museum’s photographic holdings currently encompass more than 7,000 works, including the renowned Wolf Collection of 19th century American landscape photography, and extensive holdings of work by Edward Curtis, David Francis Barry and John Hillers. The 20th century collection includes works by Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer, Man Ray, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Clarence White, Laura Gilpin, Robert Adams, Diane Arbus and a distinguished group of Czech avant-garde photographers. Contemporary artists include Lucas Samaras, Bernd and Hilla Becher, John Baldessari, Yasumasa Morimura and a host of artists who push the boundaries of electronic media arts.