A Changing of The Guard at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Harold Koda to Step Down After Leading Met Museum’s Costume Institute for 15 Years

Andrew Bolton to Become Curator In Charge of the Department

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today that Harold Koda, who has been Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute since 2000, will step down on January 8, 2016. Campbell also announced that Andrew Bolton, currently a Curator in the department, will become Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute upon Mr. Koda’s departure.

During his time at the Met, Harold has brought great change to the department, including the transfer of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection to the Museum, and the two-year renovation and reopening of its space as the Anna Wintour Costume Center last year,” said Mr. Campbell. “He has led his talented team in contributing to the field of costume in groundbreaking ways including landmark acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications.”

He continued: “I am certain that Andrew, known for his extraordinary creativity and scholarship, will carry on Harold’s tradition of curatorial excellence. His rigorous research and innovative approach to installation make him a visionary curator and a great collaborator with colleagues both within and beyond the Museum.”

Harold Koda

Since rejoining the Met in 2000, Mr. Koda’s exhibitions have included Goddess (2003), Dangerous Liaisons (2004), Poiret: King of Fashion (2007), Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (2012), Charles James: Beyond Fashion (May 2014), and the upcoming Jacqueline de Ribes: The Art of Style. His tenure is highlighted by the transfer of the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection to the Met in January 2009 and the reopening of The Costume Institute’s space after a two-year renovation in May 2014 as the Anna Wintour Costume Center.

In his earlier tenure at the Met as Associate Curator, Koda worked closely with the late Richard Martin, then Curator in Charge, on 12 acclaimed exhibitions, including Diana Vreeland: Immoderate Style (1993), Madame Grès (1994), and Christian Dior (1996). Koda has co-authored 20 books, including 12 landmark catalogues for Met exhibitions. He lectures widely and contributes scholarly articles to many publications.

Prior to rejoining the Metropolitan, Mr. Koda served as co-curator of Giorgio Armani (2000) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Mr. Koda worked for 11 years at the Edward C. Blum Design Laboratory of the Fashion Institute of Technology as Associate Curator, and Curator in the costume collection, and then as Director of the Design Laboratory, from 1979 to 1992. He was the curator of Balenciaga (1986), and worked on exhibitions including Jocks and Nerds (1989), Splash! (1990), and Halston: Absolute Modernism (1991), with Mr. Martin, and occasionally with Laura Sinderbrand. Earlier, he was an Exhibition Assistant to the Costume Institute’s Special Consultant, Diana Vreeland, working on Met exhibitions, including The Glory of Russian Costume (1976) and Vanity Fair (1977).

Born in Honolulu, he graduated from the University of Hawaii with a B.A., and a B.F.A. in Art History. He also studied at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and received his Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University in 2000.

Mr. Koda received special awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 1986 and 1997, the Costume Society of America Richard Martin Award for Poiret: King of Fashion in 2007, and the Fashion Group International Oracle Award in 2009.

Andrew Bolton

Andrew Bolton joined The Costume Institute in 2002, as Associate Curator, and was named Curator in 2006. He has worked closely with Harold Koda and independently, on exhibitions including Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century (2004), Chanel (2005), AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion (2006), Poiret: King of Fashion (2007), Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (2008), American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity (2010), Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (2011), Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (2012), Punk: Chaos to Couture (2013), and China: Through the Looking Glass (2015).

The China: Through the Looking Glass exhibition, curated by Mr. Bolton, closed on Monday after attracting 815,992 visitors, surpassing The Costume Institute’s prior most popular show on Alexander McQueen, which drew which attracted 661,509 visitors. Both exhibitions are among the Museum’s top ten most visited, with China at number five, and Alexander McQueen at number nine.

Mr. Bolton has authored and co-authored more than 12 books, lectures widely, and contributes scholarly articles to many publications.

Prior to joining the Metropolitan, Mr. Bolton worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London for nine years, as Senior Research Fellow in Contemporary Fashion, and prior to that as Curatorial Assistant in the Far Eastern Department. During this period, he also curated exhibitions at the London College of Fashion.

Born in Great Britain, he earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Non-Western Art from the University of East Anglia. In 2007, he became a Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts in London. He has received several awards, including the 2015 Vilcek Prize in Fashion, the Best Design Show from the International Association of Art Critics for Poiret (with Harold Koda) and for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. For the Superheroes catalogue, he received the AIGA Design Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award, both in 2009.

The Costume Institute

The Costume Institute’s collection of more than 35,000 costumes and accessories represents five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children, from the 15th century to the present. It combines the department’s holdings with the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection, and constitutes the single largest and most comprehensive costume collection in the world, offering an unrivaled timeline of Western fashion history.

The Costume Institute began as the Museum of Costume Art, an independent entity formed in 1937 and led by Neighborhood Playhouse founder Irene Lewisohn. In 1946, with the financial support of the fashion industry, the Museum of Costume Art merged with The Metropolitan Museum of Art as The Costume Institute, and in 1959 became a curatorial department. The legendary fashion arbiter Diana Vreeland, who served as special consultant from 1972 until her death in 1989, created a memorable suite of exhibitions, including The World of Balenciaga (1973), The Glory of Russian Costume (1976), and Vanity Fair (1977), galvanizing audiences and setting the standard for costume exhibitions globally.

In 1989, Richard Martin took the helm, with the support of Harold Koda (now Curator in Charge), and began a rotating cycle of thematic exhibitions. Martin’s tenure culminated in Rock Style, the last exhibition before his death in 1999.

The redesigned Costume Institute space opened on May 8, 2014, after a two-year renovation as the Anna Wintour Costume Center with the exhibition Charles James: Beyond Fashion. The complex includes the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Gallery, the main showcase space with a flexible design that lends itself to frequent transformation with the latest video, sound, and wireless technology. The Center also includes the Carl and Iris Barrel Apfel Gallery to orient visitors to The Costume Institute’s exhibitions and holdings. Behind the scenes is a state-of-the-art costume conservation laboratory; an expanded study/storage facility to house the combined holdings of the Met and the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection; and The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library, one of the world’s foremost fashion libraries.