Foster, Carter

Whitney curator Carter Foster demonstrates his profound knowledge of drawing and reveals how, on occasion, the curatorial process can help rewrite history.

“We’ve come to this moment where the word “curating” is thrown around as a verb and an activity that it never was when I started studying art history. I think we’ve gotten away from—the root meaning of curating is care-taking. And I started working as a curator because I wanted to take care of art in museums where I wanted to work.

Carter Foster is the Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Foster grew up interested in museums and art objects. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in art history in 1989, and he earned his Master’s degree from Brown University in 1991. His first museum position was a summer internship at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., followed by an internship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s print and drawing collection. In 1993 Foster moved to New York City and began working as a Print Specialist at the New York Public Library. Three years later Foster took a staff position in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s drawing department, becoming its chief in 2002. He briefly transferred to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as Curator and Co-chair of the Departments of Prints and Drawings, before moving back to New York to join the Whitney in 2004. Foster has curated such major exhibitions as Master Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art (traveling), French Master Drawings from the Collection of Muriel Butkin (traveling), Real/Surreal (Whitney), and Hopper Drawing (Whitney).