THE MET BY WAY OF MOMU: Karen van Godtsenhoven has exited her post as curator at Antwerp’s ModeMuseum, known as MoMu, to join the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as associate curator.
Reporting to curator in charge Andrew Bolton, she already relocated to New York and started her new gig last month. Her responsibilities include working with the curatorial team on exhibition programming and collection development. She will also have a hand in programming for the Friends of The Costume Institute.
“The museum’s incredible costume collection contains some of the most defining objects in fashion history,” said van Godtsenhoven Tuesday. “It is an honor for me as a curator to work with this collection and open its stories to visitors from around the world. To work with such an outstanding team of curators, especially Andrew Bolton, is very inspiring. I look forward to our upcoming projects.”
In her eight years at MoMu, van Godtsenhoven, an authority in 20th and 21st century fashion, orchestrated more than 15 exhibitions including the 2014 “Happy Birthday Dear Academie,” which marked the 50th anniversary of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The extravaganza spotlighted the work of the Antwerp Six: Walter Van Beirendonck, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs and Marina Yee.
Just last year, van Godtsenhoven curated “Game Changers: Reinventing the 20th-Century Silhouette” and “Olivier Theyskens — She Walks in Beauty.” Committed to immersive shows that highlight the artist’s creative process, MoMu’s current retrospective for Theyskens shows his work at Rochas, Nina Ricci, Theyskens’ Theory and the relaunch of his signature collection. To tell a complete story beyond the pieces on view, MoMu includes scenography — in this case literary voices that serve as a backdrop to his creations, and the photos, films and drawings that highlight the artist’s creative process.
MoMu does not plan to name a replacement for van Godtsenhoven until at least 2019, according to a spokesman for the Belgian museum.
Bolton said of the Belgian-born newcomer to his team, “With her scholarly background in literature and cultural studies, along with her conceptual approach to museology, Karen will greatly enhance our mission to advance the connoisseurship of fashion through exhibition programming and collection development.”
Her credentials include an M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of Antwerp, an M.A. in English Language and Literature from University of Manchester and Ghent University, and a B.A. in Germanic Philology from Catholic University of Brussels. Van Godtsenhoven also has done postgraduate work with distinction in gender studies.