After more than a decade as a curator and administrator on the Los Angeles art scene at the Hammer Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art, architecture and design specialist Brook Hodge is heading to Manhattan as deputy director of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, a branch of the Smithsonian Institution.
Hodge has been the Hammer’s director of exhibitions and publications since 2010. She was MOCA’s architecture curator from 2001 to 2009, when she was laid off as part of deep budget cutting at the downtown museum following its financial crisis in late 2008.
Cooper-Hewitt's written announcement of Hodge’s hiring described her as “a recognized expert in the fields of architecture and design.”
The New York museum’s director, Caroline Baumann, said that Hodge’s agenda upon starting her new job on July 16 will include planning for the fall reopening of its main building on Fifth Avenue on Manhattan’s upper East Side, which has undergone renovations to expand its exhibition space.
The building, completed in 1901, is the former mansion of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie; it became a museum in 1967.
“The expansion and opening … marks the launch of an important new era not only for the museum but for design in general,” Hodge said in Thursday's announcement by Cooper-Hewitt.
She was a guest co-curator in 2006 of the New York museum's National Design Triennial exhibition. The announcement said she’s developing a touring exhibition on British designer Thomas Heatherwick that will open in September at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, which is led by Hodge’s former MOCA boss, Jeremy Strick. Its subsequent stops include Cooper-Hewitt.
In her MOCA tenure, Hodge curated exhibitions on Frank Gehry, the L.A.-based Ball-Nogues architecture firm, automotive designer J Mays, and “Skin and Bones,” a 2006 exhibition about the relationship between fashion and architecture.
She was on the staff of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design for 10 years before coming to Los Angeles, eventually becoming the school's assistant dean and serving as a curator at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum.