KATONAH MUSEUM OF ART NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Darsie Alexander, Nationally Renowned Curator and Museum Professional, to Expand the KMA’s Dynamic Exhibition Program and Community Involvement
Katonah, NY, January 13, 2014 - President Tara Coniaris and the Board of Trustees of the Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) are pleased to announce the appointment of its new Executive Director, Darsie Alexander. She leaves her current position as Chief Curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to assume her new role at the KMA on March 1, 2014.
Says Ms. Coniaris, “We are thrilled to bring Darsie on board as our next executive. Her excellent track record as a curator, innovative approach to audience engagement, and remarkable career at leading American museums made her an exceptional candidate who will bring visionary leadership to the KMA.”
“Darsie brings to the KMA a rich and vibrant history of extraordinary exhibitions and multi-disciplinary collaborations, as well as hands-on community involvement,” continues Ms. Coniaris. “This makes her the ideal person to direct the KMA as it continues to build fans among seasoned collectors, artists, and art enthusiasts.” Ms. Alexander’s contributions to the field have long been applauded by fellow professionals and esteemed artists. Ms. Coniaris adds, “The Museum is grateful to Belinda Roth, our Interim Executive Director, for her leadership over the past year. Not only did she supervise a compelling series of exhibitions and related events, but she also initiated important collaborative efforts going forward. We are thankful for Belinda’s contribution in making this a smooth transition.”
Ms. Alexander looks forward to seizing upon the KMA’s unique features, including the physical intimacy of the Edward Larrabee Barnes building. “Great museums come in many shapes and sizes,” she says. “An agile, non-collecting museum with close links to its community and New York City like the KMA occupies an essential spot in the landscape of art today. It is free to undertake exciting, in-depth program initiatives that may not work on a larger platform. It’s where true creativity and experimentation can occur. Our success hinges on being a place where great ideas and art converge to engage the public. Affirming and expanding points of connection with local and national audiences will be the most important and deeply inspiring part of my job.”
Ms. Alexander has a proven track record of producing multi-disciplinary exhibitions that are significant for their artistic merit and great fun to experience. People still talk about the interactive sculpture exhibition, Franz West: To Build a House You Start with the Roof, presented at the Baltimore Museum of Art and, more recently, the Walker’s Benches & Binoculars, where visitors sat on chaise lounges and leaned back with binoculars, to look at the works mounted high on the walls. She also orchestrated the purchase of one of the Walker’s most important acquisitions: the 3,000-object Merce Cunningham Dance Archive, which features unique works by Cunningham’s famous artist collaborators including Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Arguably the most sweeping and far-reaching exhibition of Ms. Alexander’s career at the Walker will be International Pop, which opens in Minneapolis in 2015 before travelling to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Raised in Massachusetts, Ms. Alexander earned her M.A. in Art History at Williams College and B.A. from Bates College. She began her career as a photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art, serving as the photography liaison for Modern Starts: MoMA2000, a museum-wide millennial project. Ms. Alexander received MoMA’s Lee Tanenbaum Award for Curatorial Excellence. She introduced art stars Rachel Harrison, Olafur Eliasson, and Sam Taylor-Johnson to New York audiences in a group exhibition in 1998. She is married to curator David E. Little and the couple has two children.
Following her tenure at MoMA and prior to joining the Walker in 2009, Ms. Alexander was Senior Curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art where she organized the critically acclaimed exhibition SlideShow and originated the museum’s still-pulsating Front Room series, devoted to short-term artist residencies. She also introduced SiteMaryland, an initiative centered on campus-wide installations animating the building and grounds of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Ms. Alexander recalls, “SiteMaryland inspired tremendous goodwill from the community and truly enlivened our outdoor spaces. I very much look forward to bringing this type of public engagement to Katonah.”
The search for the KMA’s Executive Director was undertaken through the services of Heidrick & Struggles, Naree W.S. Viner, Principal.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
The Katonah Museum of Art, committed to presenting exceptional art from all cultures and time periods, through innovative exhibition and education programs, promotes the understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts for diverse audiences. The founders’ decision to be a non-collecting institution resulted in a dynamic and flexible exhibition program, which remains one of the most distinctive features of the KMA. The KMA offers lectures, films, workshops, concerts and other events for a general audience; and presents innovative and substantive programs for over 100 member schools. Our Learning Center is the only interactive space in Westchester County where children can come on a daily basis to explore and create art.
Interactivity and the validity of community as essential to the art experience has become a hallmark of the KMA mission. Writing about the current exhibition, Eye to I… 3,000 Years of Portraits, The New York Times noted, “…. diversity of expression is not limited to the artists. The organizers of Eye to I asked 124 community members to write personal responses to specific pieces. It is these entries rather than traditional curatorial copy that appear alongside images of the artwork in the show’s catalog and on the exhibition’s website.”
UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS include Jasper Johns & John Lund: Masters in the Print Studio (March 23 – June 15, 2014) and ICELAND: Artists Respond to Place (June 29 – September 29, 2014).
Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street, Katonah, NY 10536
*Museum hours: Sunday: 12pm – 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday: 10am – 5pm, Closed Monday.
*Admission: $10 Adults, $5 Seniors & Students, Members & Children (Under the Age of 12) Always Enter Free