NEW YORK.- The Museum of Modern Art has appointed Kathy Halbreich to the newly created position of Associate Director, Glenn D. Lowry, MoMA Director, announced today. Halbreich, who has served as Director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for the past 16 years, will join MoMA in February 2008.
Halbreich will work with Lowry and curators at MoMA and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, MoMA’s affiliate, to amplify MoMA’s pan-institutional contemporary programs and initiatives, and to lead the contemporary working group, a curatorial committee dedicated to contemporary art.
Halbreich will also help develop the Museum’s acquisitions of very recent works of art through the Fund for the 21st Century, propose and organize exhibitions, and partner with the Director on advocacy issues for the Museum. She will report to Glenn Lowry.
“I have long been an admirer of Kathy's and I am thrilled that she will be joining our outstanding staff,” said Lowry. “She brings a wealth of experience to the Museum and a compelling new voice that will significantly extend our discussions and programs concerning contemporary art. As the 21st century progresses, our goal is to remain a prescient and scholarly institution at the forefront of dialogue with artists and I look forward to working with Kathy to ensure we achieve these goals.”
Halbreich said: “This is a singular opportunity to help fortify MoMA’s commitment to contemporary art and to the artists who make it. Having decided to end my days as a director after more than 16 happy years at the Walker, I am excited to take on a set of responsibilities that represent the most challenging and stimulating institutional concerns. I have found MoMA to be a remarkable place throughout my life, having first visited on a near-weekly basis as a 12-year-old student at the Art Students League. I look forward to working with new colleagues as well as many friends on the staff and the Board of Trustees.”
Jerry Speyer, MoMA’s Chairman, said: “With the appointment of Kathy Halbreich, Glenn Lowry has added a superb innovative thinker to MoMA’s highly talented staff as the Museum charts its course for the future and demonstrates a continuing vigorous commitment to contemporary art. This appointment is made possible by Glenn’s full commitment to remain in his position as Director over the coming years. We anticipate the partnership between Glenn and Kathy to provide inspired direction for the future.”
MoMA President Marie-Josée Kravis said: “The appointment of Kathy Halbreich as Associate Director will serve to amplify the Museum’s leading position as an arbiter and interpreter of contemporary art from around the world. Working in collaboration with Glenn Lowry and MoMA’s remarkable curatorial staff, Kathy’s creative, curatorial, and management strengths will support and further the Museum’s mission to make contemporary art engaging and accessible.”
Halbreich will remain Director of the Walker until November 1, 2007. During her tenure, the Walker diversified its visitor base, extended its civic and international presence, and broadened its multidisciplinary programming, making performing and media arts full curatorial departments. Halbreich spearheaded the expansion of the Walker’s building, completed in 2005 by architects Herzog and de Meuron, as well as the leadership of a successful $100 million capital campaign. Under Halbreich’s direction, the Walker’s collection grew from some 6,100 works in 1990 to nearly 10,000 pieces today.
At the Walker, Halbreich co-curated (with Neal Benezra) the retrospective Bruce Nauman (1994), which traveled throughout the United States and Europe, and organized the first museum exhibition of the Belgian film director Chantal Akerman (1995). She led a four-year global research initiative in which Walker curators and educators collaborated with colleagues from China, India, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, and South Africa to produce a yearlong series of programs, including the exhibition How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age (2003), and a film series, performing arts commissions, and a high school teaching curriculum.
Under Halbreich, the Walker presented many groundbreaking exhibitions, such as those devoted to the artists Joseph Beuys, Chuck Close, Kiki Smith, and Kara Walker, as well as examinations of the artistic movements Fluxus and Arte Povera, and new art from London. The Walker is also noted for its commissions of major new performing arts works, including those from new music creator Meredith Monk, choreographer Bill T. Jones, and jazz musicians and composers Lester Bowie and Jason Moran.
Previously, Halbreich was the founding curator of the Department of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1988-1991) and director of the Albert and Vera List Visual Arts Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1976-1986). While at M.I.T., Halbreich worked with architect I.M. Pei and artists Scott Burton, Richard Fleischner, and Kenneth Noland to design the List Visual Arts Center, a collaboration that became a national model for architects and artists working together.
Halbreich has served as a curatorial adviser for the Carnegie International (1988), as a board member for the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, as a member of the International Selection Committee for Documenta 10 (1993-94), in Kassel, Germany, and as Commissioner for the North American region for the first Kwangju Biennale in Kwangju, Korea (1995). A native New Yorker, Halbreich graduated from Bennington College in 1971 with a double degree in Literature and the Visual Arts.