Two years after moving to New York City from Canada, a young Laurence Kardish joined the Department of Film at New York’s Museum of Modern Art as a curatorial assistant back in 1968. Over the decades he was promoted within the department and ultimately named Senior Curator in 1999. After a career spanning 44 years, Kardish announed today that he will retire from his post at MoMA this fall.

Kardish, a fixture at film events and festivals locally and worldwide, has launched new programs and curated some 60 exhibitions annually during his time at MoMA.

“During my years at the Museum, I have enjoyed many extraordinary opportunities to work with independent curators and scholars, representatives of national film organizations, and film festivals from around the world,” Kardish said in a MoMA statement today. “But above all, I have been enriched and supported by the amazing team of colleagues throughout the Museum who make MoMA such a remarkable place.”

Movies were marginalized at the Museum early on in his time there, Kardish explained in a Gothamist profile back in 2005. During his tenure, Film gained prominence and is now one of the largest departments at MoMA, he said.

Working closely with the Film Society of Lincoln Center each year, Larry Kardish has served on the selection committee of the jointly-run New Directors/New Films festival since its inception in 1972.

“Larry has made a major impact on the appreciation and understanding of the moving image, especially for the generations of cinephiles and scholars who have been touched by his encyclopedic research and programming,” said MoMA’s chief film curator Rajendra Roy in a statement. “His broad knowledge of cinema history and his unwavering dedication to the art form have made him a pillar in the field. His work at MoMA will serve as an inspiration for many years to come.”

Kardish will continue in his role at MoMA until his retirement this October.

Congratulations and best wishes from everyone at the Film Society to Larry and his wife Jill!