The Museum of Modern Art chief film curator Rajendra Roy has made a superb addition to his museum staff. Dave Kehr is the museum’s new Adjunct Curator in the Department of Film.
Kehr is one of our most elegantly erudite film critics. The ex-Daily News and Chicago Reader and Tribune critic now writes the New York Times’ weekly DVD column, among other contributions, as well as a superb blog. There he reveals his knowledge of the classics, and in a way has reveled in being able to avoid the often less amazing movies produced by Hollywood today.
Per the press release, Kehr’s role at MoMA will be to “facilitate new scholarship and exhibitions related to the unique strengths of MoMA’s film collection, and will focus on making the collection more accessible to audiences outside New York by developing the Museum’s circulating film strategies in the digital realm.” Kehr, who cares deeply about film preservation, steps in to fill the void left a year ago by the retirement of 44-year MoMA veteran Laurence Kardish, who some dozen years as senior film curator. Kehr starts in his new role December 1, says Roy:
“Dave Kehr has a hard-earned and dedicated international following as a champion of the under-recognized and long-forgotten in cinema. His writing has helped uncover numerous lost gems, provided support for their preservation, and inspired countless cinephiles and filmmakers alike. We are thrilled to have him dive into our collection and add his voice to the celebration of the art of the motion picture.”
Kehr has written on film widely, from Les Cahiers du cinéma to Entertainment Weekly, and has served as a contributing editor to Film Comment since 1985. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics and the Library of Congress’s National Film Preservation Board, and is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des arts et des lettres.
He’s an avid collector of film posters, which I have had the pleasure of viewing up close. Among his publications are “Italian Film Posters” (The Museum of Modern Art, 2003), “Art of the Modern Movie Poster: International Style and Design” (Chronicle Books, 2008), and “When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade” (University of Chicago Press, 2011). He has also written two films: “Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows,” (American Masters, PBS, 2001), and “Budd Boetticher: A Man Can Do That” (Turner Classic Movies, 2005).