Blogs Centerpoints Staff

Interviewed on Flak Radio

Last week I was interviewed on Flak Radio, the weekly podcast for Flak Magazine. I sat down with James Norton and Taylor Carik to discuss The UnConvention. If you’re confused about what that is, the podcast is a good way to find out. Also discussed: Taylor Carik as the Twin Cities best Twin Cities blogger, […]

My Favorite mARTian

Are we alone in the universe? Do aliens exist? Or are we, ourselves, the strangers in our own worlds? Answers to these questions aren’t posed only at the Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center. They also bubble up in Life on Mars, the theme for the 55th annual Carnegie International — America’s most enduring contemporary […]

Are we alone in the universe?

Do aliens exist?

Or are we, ourselves, the strangers in our own worlds?

Answers to these questions aren’t posed only at the Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center. They also bubble up in Life on Mars, the theme for the 55th annual Carnegie International — America’s most enduring contemporary art exhibition. Former Walker curator Douglas Fogle, now curator of contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, organized what he describes as a “collective self-portrait of humanity colliding with the economic and political events that define daily existence.”

Given the theme, it’s unsurprising that among the nearly 40 artists represented here, the vast majority are men, including Doug Aitken, Bruce Conner, and Paul Thek. In this video interview with WDUQ-90.5FM, Fogle calls the title — the first Carnegie International exhibition to bear one — “a metaphor about other worlds. The best contemporary art takes you to other worlds.” The exhibition opens Saturday and flies to another galaxy January 2009.

A perfect day in Minneapolis

How would you spend a perfect day in Minneapolis? This is a question Walker Teen Programs Manager Witt Siasoco answered in a two-page spread in Giant Robot, the fantastic Asian pop culture magazine. Like any good day, it starts with coffee and breakfast, followed by a mysteriously short one-hour workday. There are scans of the […]

Witt in the Guthrie TheaterHow would you spend a perfect day in Minneapolis? This is a question Walker Teen Programs Manager Witt Siasoco answered in a two-page spread in Giant Robot, the fantastic Asian pop culture magazine. Like any good day, it starts with coffee and breakfast, followed by a mysteriously short one-hour workday. There are scans of the article up here: page 1, page 2.

Eavesdrop 02.07.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moWZyneVh2k[/youtube]This installment has Andrew Blauvelt, the Walker’s design director, showing how he organized the exhibitionWorlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes,which opens February 16.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moWZyneVh2k[/youtube]This installment has Andrew Blauvelt, the Walker’s design director, showing how he organized the exhibitionWorlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes,which opens February 16.

Eavesdropping at the Walker: 01.22.08

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=wclxKI22PKI[/youtube] Frida Kahlo drew thousands for its closing weekend, and Walker technicians took the show down Monday and Tuesday without an audience. Take a peek at the final patch of work that went into this exhibition.

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=wclxKI22PKI[/youtube]

Frida Kahlo drew thousands for its closing weekend, and Walker technicians took the show down Monday and Tuesday without an audience. Take a peek at the final patch of work that went into this exhibition.

Critic association honors Walker and Walker

Kara Walker installing her exhibition at the Walker Art Center in 2007. The Walker’s exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love has won one of the museum industry’s most prestigious honors — “best monographic museum show,” by the International Association of Art Critics/USA Awards. The awards, the art world’s equivalent to […]

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Kara Walker installing her exhibition at the Walker Art Center in 2007.

The Walker’s exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love has won one of the museum industry’s most prestigious honors — “best monographic museum show,” by the International Association of Art Critics/USA Awards.

The awards, the art world’s equivalent to those given by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Drama Desk, recognize artists, curators, critics, scholars, cultural institutions, museums, and galleries nationally for their contributions to the field. A ceremony for the honors is March 17 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Curated by Walker Deputy Director and Chief Curator Philippe Vergne and Assistant Curator Yasmil Raymond, the exhibition has received wide critical attention since premiering at the Walker in spring 2007, including cover stories in Art in America and Artforum, and features in New Yorker, The New York Times, Art+Auction, and W. In addition, the American Institute of Graphic Arts cited the catalogue cover in its annual 50 Books/50 Covers. Kara Walker was named last spring to “ The Time 100” among “ people who shape our world.”

Here is the complete list of award winners for 2006/2007:

BEST MONOGRAPHIC MUSEUM SHOW

First place: Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love. Organized for the Walker Art Center. Curator: Philippe Vergne and Yasmil Raymond

Second Place (tie): Rudolf Stingel. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Curator: Francesco Bonami; A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s. Organized by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Curator: Constance Lewallen

BEST THEMATIC MUSEUM SHOW NATIONALLY

First place: The Geometry of Hope: Latin American Abstract Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection. Organized by the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin. Curator: Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro.

Second Place: WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Curator: Connie Butler

BEST MONOGRAPHIC MUSEUM SHOW (NEW YORK CITY)

First Place: Gordon Matta-Clark: You are the Measure. Organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Curator: Elizabeth Sussman

Second Place: Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years. Organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Curators: Kynaston McShine and Lynne Cooke

BEST THEMATIC MUSEUM SHOW (NEW YORK CITY)

First Place: Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s. Organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Curator: Sabine Rewald, Jacques and Natasha Gelman

Second Place: Ecotopia: The Second ICP Triennial of Photography and Video. Organized by the International Center of Photography. Curators: Brian Wallis, Christopher Phillips, Edward Earle, Carol Squiers, Joanna Lehan

BEST SHOW IN A COMMERCIAL GALLERY (NEW YORK CITY)

Daughters of New York DADA. Organized by the Francis F. Naumann Fine Art

BEST SHOW IN A COMMERCIAL GALLERY

John Baldessari. Organized by Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles

BEST SHOW BY AN ALTERNATIVE SPACE or SMALLER ORGANIZATION

First Place: Moving Pictures. Organized by Williams College Museum of Art. Curator: Nancy Mowll Mathews

Second Place: High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967-1975. Organized by Independent Curators International. Guest curator Katy Siegel with David Reed advisor

BEST SHOW IN A PUBLIC SPACE

Anish Kapoor: Sky Mirror. Rockefeller Center, New York. Organized by the Public Art Fund

BEST ARCHITECTURE or DESIGN SHOW

First Place: Poiret: King of Fashion. Organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Curators: Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton

Second Place: Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Curator: Brooke Hodge

BEST HISTORICAL SHOW

First Place: Manet and the Execution of Maximilian. Organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Curator: John Elderfield

Second Place: Spanish Painting from El Greco to Picasso: Time, Truth, and History. Organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Curators: by Carmen Giménez and Francisco Calvo Serraller

BEST EXHIBITION OF TIME-BASED ART (VIDEO, FILM, or PERFORMANCE)

Joan Jonas: The Shape, The Scent, The Feel Of Things. Organized by Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York, NY

Olga Viso looking forward and back at “Utopia”

Olga Viso was the deputy director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington, D.C., when she began working with directors of the Walker Art Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on a unique collaboration – to identify and exhibit well-known artists whose life and works were little understood in a […]

Olga VisoOlga Viso was the deputy director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington, D.C., when she began working with directors of the Walker Art Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on a unique collaboration – to identify and exhibit well-known artists whose life and works were little understood in a contemporary context. Their first selection–Frida Kahlo.

As Viso stepped up from deputy director to director of the Hirshhorn in 2005, she made the reluctant choice to withdraw the museum from the Kahlo exhibition. In September last year, she announced she would leave the Hirshhorn to become Kathy Halbreich’s successor as the Walker’s director. On her third visit to the Walker since that announcement, Viso absorbed a mix of feelings as she toured Frida Kahlo shortly after its opening.

“ It was a hard show to let go, because I was part of birthing it,” Viso says.

In this interview, Viso discusses Frida Kahlo, her mission and role as she comes to the Walker – her first day is January 8 – and how she believes the Walker can move forward by also looking back at its groundbreaking genesis.

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Halbreich gives herself the boot at one hail of a goodbye

Kathy Halbreich (in white) has the McGuire Theater all to herself. Photo by Cameron Wittig.   Kathy Halbreich limped into the final hours of her final day — her 6,115th — as the Walker’s director. “I fell into a drain. I think it’s appropriate,” she told a Walker staffer, referring to the giant plastic boot […]

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Kathy Halbreich (in white) has the McGuire Theater all to herself. Photo by Cameron Wittig.

 

Kathy Halbreich limped into the final hours of her final day — her 6,115th — as the Walker’s director.

“I fell into a drain. I think it’s appropriate,” she told a Walker staffer, referring to the giant plastic boot encasing her right foot and ankle, as she hobbled into the museum’s Skyline Room. “I thought, you know, ‘Take the next step — break a leg.'”

That next step — a new associate director position created for her at New York’s Museum of Modern Art — was barely alluded to during Monday’s triple-layered farewell tribute. The evening started with a champagne-toasted goodbye from Walker staff, merged into a formal tribute to Halbreich in front of nearly 400 staff, donors, board members and assorted dignitaries and closed with a Walker-wide “block party” — all of it hailing Halbreich’s 16-plus years leading the Walker and the deep impact she made on museum programming, funding, recruiting and its thinking.

Long, thin tables at the staff toast were topped only with boxes of tissue, and many staffers reached for them during speeches as touching as they were brief.

“I will miss your shuffle to my the office with one more idea you need to share immediately,” said Philippe Vergne, the Walker’s associate director and chief curator.

Howard Oransky, the director of planning and a longtime Walker staffer, praised Halbreich for “having changed the curatorial landscape of contemporary art.” He recalled that after seeing evidence that the Walker exhibited art primarily from American and Western European artists, Halbreich immediately conceived and launched the museum’s global initiative. This broadened programming across disciplines, heightening artistic discoveries in Africa, China, South Korea, the Middle East and elsewhere and stamping the museum with perhaps Halbreich’s most profound legacy in terms of programming.

“You are not only the finest example of what a museum director can be, but you have given us a home, a home built with ideas,” Oransky said.

Philip Bither, chief performing arts curator, thanked Halbreich for her “constant, tireless, exhausting support and trust and faith” and the “grace and humanity in how you ran the place.”

Sarah Schultz, director of education and community programming, put it plainly: “Good girls don’t make a difference. So on behalf of all the remaining bad girls, we salute you.”

Jazz pianist Jason Moran proved a fitting feature of the tribute inside the Walker’s McGuire Theater. He first performed at the museum in 2001 and then held residencies in 2004 and 2005, when he turned to the Walker’s visual arts collection for direct inspiration for new work. On Monday, he tweaked one of his own tunes into the retitled “She Puts on Her Coat and Leaves,” sampling and layering sound clips from an early Halbreich interview — Her pasted words: “My Husband. My Son. My Friendship. My Obsession” — atop a gorgeous, airy ballad.

Board members rattled off Halbreich’s accomplishments: Among them, starting Free First Saturday and the Walker’s teen arts council, a $100 million capital campaign leading to the museum’s new building and balanced budgets during every year of her leadership.

Halbreich said she leaves the museum with a succinct mission: Keeping the Walker “a safe place for unsafe ideas.”

“These were, for me, the happiest years of my life,” she said from the theater’s podium. “It has been my obsession, and I thank you all for supporting it. This is a very special place, and what we have isn’t reproducible.”

Viso/Halbreich: Symbols of a movement, not a trend

The Walker taps Olga Viso to succeed Kathy Halbreich as director and Halbreich moves on to envision contemporary programming at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Tack on Kaywin Feldman becoming director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and, even without citing the Rule of Threes, one could spot a trend – the rise […]

The Walker taps Olga Viso to succeed Kathy Halbreich as director and Halbreich moves on to envision contemporary programming at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.

Tack on Kaywin Feldman becoming director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and, even without citing the Rule of Threes, one could spot a trend – the rise of women in leadership at American museums.

Others saw such a trend long before these recent moves. Halbreich and Viso separately commented on the topic, in 2006, to Tyler Green for a Los Angeles Times piece on the emergence of women as museum directors. Viso, 41, comes to the Walker after 12 years with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the past two as its director.

But dig a little deeper and you’ll see not a trend but an evolutionary progression. While men still outnumber women at the tops of America’s art museums, women are on greater footing at institutions with an exclusive or primary focus on contemporary arts – that is, art created after World War II.

Beyond Halbreich and Viso, who begins at the Walker in January, women hold top leadership posts with at least two dozen contemporary arts institutions, from museums with international reputations to ambitious regional centers.

A partial list of these women and the contemporary art centers they lead:

Hope Alswang – Rhode Island School of Design Museum

Bonnie Clearwater – Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami

Stephanie Conaway – Center of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

Rachael Blackburn Cozad – Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City

Julie Decker – International Gallery of Contemporary Art, Anchorage

Sherri Gelden – Wexner Center for the Arts, at Ohio State University, Columbus

Claudia Gould – Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia

Kay Kallos – Atlanta Contemporary Art Center

Linda Klosky – Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe

Susan Krane – Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Georgianna Lagoria – The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

Jill Medvedow – Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Cydney Payton – Contemporary Art Museum of Denver

Ann Philbin – Hammer Museum, UCLA

Lisa Phillips – New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City

Raphaela Platow – Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati

Marla Price – Museum of Contemporary Art of Fort Worth

Susan Purves – Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle

Virginia Rutter – Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Jill Snyder – Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art

A New Home for Halbreich

When Kathy Halbreich announced she would leave the Walker Art Center after nearly 17 years as its director, she told the New York Times “ I can’t imagine any other institution capturing my talents and spirits so perfectly.” Apparently, her imagination has found that institution. The Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, is […]

When Kathy Halbreich announced she would leave the Walker Art Center after nearly 17 years as its director, she told the New York Times “ I can’t imagine any other institution capturing my talents and spirits so perfectly.”

Apparently, her imagination has found that institution.

The Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, is creating a position for Halbreich, naming her the museum’s only associate director. She will focus on contemporary art initiatives and programming for both the museum and its affiliate, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center.

Rather than lead a department or spearhead exhibitions, Halbreich will work across the institution to help define, structure and extend MoMA’s commitment to contemporary art. She will lead the museum’s curatorial committee for contemporary work, help develop museum acquisitions of new work and play a role in museum advocacy.

Halbreich, who ends her Walker tenure at the end of October, begins her new gig February 2008. She will report to MoMA Director Glenn Lowry.

Some might raise an eyebrow over Halbreich’s move from a director position at one of the world’s leading contemporary arts institutions to an associate director post at a museum with many focuses, but Halbreich sees the step as part of her personal and professional evolution.

“ When I resigned from the Walker, I decided that my days as a museum director were over and I wanted to discover the next chapter in my career,” Halbreich said through the MoMA. “ I look forward to focusing on art and artists, which are the most challenging and stimulating concerns I can imagine.”

Two weeks ago, the Walker announced Olga Viso, director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, as Halbreich’s replacement. Viso begins at the Walker in January.

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