Adrienne Mancia Obituary, former Curator of the Department of Film at the Museum of Modern Art Dies

Adrienne Mancia Obituary, Death – At the age of 95, Adrienne Mancia, who was widely regarded as one of the most accomplished film heritage programmers and curators, passed away on December 11, 2022. She served as the Film Curator for the MMOMA (New York). In 1964, Adrienne Mancia started her career at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) working as Richard Griffith’s secretary. Within a year, she worked her way up to the position of Curatorial Assistant and was responsible for organizing all film exhibitions. She introduced new ideas into the Museum’s auditorium exhibition program with Willard Van Dyke’s support and encouragement. She maintained a balance between performing works from the past and those from the present.

She introduced films from Latin America and Europe to audiences in the United States. She was involved in the film selection process during the 1970s for the first “New Directors/New Films” festival, which was held at the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. From 1977 until 1998, she worked as the Film Curator at the Museum of Modern Art. Following her departure from MoMA, she was offered a position as the head of film programming at BAM. She held the position of curator-at-large of the BAM Rose Cinemas from the time it first opened until the early 2010s.

In addition to Cannes (Camera d’Or), Adrienne Mancia has served on juries at Locarno, Vevey, Zagreb, Oberhausen, Rotterdam, Tokyo, and Naples film festivals. For her work in distributing international films in the United States, she has received honors from both France (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, 1984) and Italy (Crocce Della Republica, 1988). She was recognized for her work in promoting films from other countries. During the 2015 Giornate del Cinema Muto held in Pordenone, she was honored with the Jean Mitry Award.

In 1978, the Motion Picture Department of the Museum of Modern Art was awarded an Academy Award for “contributing to the public’s perception of movies as art.” Richard E. Oldenburg, who was serving as the director of the Museum of Modern Art at the time, stated that “This award belongs to the members of the department throughout its history.” Iris Barry was the museum’s first curator; currently, it is maintained by a group of women including Eileen Bowser, Adrienne Mancia, Mary Lea Bandy, and others. Every single one of them was dedicated, knowledgeable, and had a strong passion for movies. After the passing of Mary Lea Bandy in 2014 and Eileen Bowser in 2019, FIAF expresses its condolences to the Museum of Modern Art on the passing of yet another historical figure.