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Philippe Vergne appointed new Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art
Most recently, in the last four years, he was the Director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).


PORTO.- Serralves Foundation’s Board of Directors announced today the appointment of Philippe Vergne as Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art. Philippe Vergne will start at his new position in April 2019.

With an impressive career in the field of contemporary art, Philippe Vergne previously headed some of the most prestigious art institutions in the United States and Europe. Most recently, in the last four years, he was the Director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).

Philippe Vergne will arrive with 25 years of museum leadership experience in various international institutions. His appointment at Serralves follows a targeted international search with an interviewing process of candidates from across the world. The Board of Serralves was advised by a distinguished group of directors of renowned museums, namely Frances Morris, Director of the Tate Modern in London; Suzanne Cotter, Director of the MUDAM in Luxembourg; Jochen Volz, Director of Pinocateca of the State of Sao Paolo; Laurent Le Bon, President of the Picasso National Museum in Paris; and Vicente Todoli, Artistic Director of Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan and consultant to several international contemporary art institutions. The Board of Serralves and their advisors were unanimous in their choice of Philippe Vergne as an outstanding candidate to be the next Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art.

“Philippe Vergne brings to Serralves an extraordinary expertise in contemporary art and culture, as well as in museum management. A distinguished curator, Philippe Vergne will bring a solid and inspiring artistic vision not just to the Museum and the Collection but also to the notable assets of the Serralves Foundation, including its historic park. With a remarkable international recognition among artists, art professionals and patrons, the appointment of Philippe Vergne opens a new and significant chapter for Serralves at an exciting time of its 30th anniversary year” stated Ana Pinho, President of the Board of Serralves.

“The Serralves Museum is one of the most revered contemporary art museums in the world. I’m honored to be part of a Museum with an ongoing and uncompromising commitment to the international artistic community across disciplines while meeting the highest standards.” declared Philippe Vergne.

Vergne established his international reputation by working at various prominent museums. Before heading the Los Angeles MOCA, he was the director of the Dia Art Foundation in New York for five years and Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, where he worked for over a decade promoting more than 25 international exhibitions, artists-in-residence programs and was part of the team that led the Herzog and de Meuron expansion. In Europe, Philippe Vergne left his mark as the first director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) of Marseille.

Philippe Vergne is known for his close relationships with artists and international museum professionals alike. At MOCA, Vergne restructured the programs and developed a long-range plan for the Museum. He oversaw and supported a robust line-up of exhibitions such as Sturtevant, Hito Steyerl, Andy Warhol, Kerry James Marshall, Carl Andre, R.H. Quaytman, Adrián Villar Rojas, Cameron Rowland, Anna Maria Maiolino, Mickalene Thomas, Zoe Leonard, and Laura Owens among many. In addition, he spearheaded major acquisitions for the Museum’s permanent collection including Kara Walker, Haegue Yang, Matthew Barney, Catherine Opie, Andreas Gursky, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Jean-Luc Moulène, Barbara T. Smith, Ana Mendieta, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jac Leirner, and Glenn Ligon, among others.

Vergne’s time at Dia was shaped by the reinforcement of its artistic and exhibition mandate, featuring celebrated shows and commissions by Thomas Hirshhorn’s Gramsci Monument set in the Bronx, New York; Jean-Luc Moulène survey show; Koo Jeong-A exhibition, and the initiation of the Allora and Calzadilla Puerto Rican Light project in Cueva Vientos, Puerto Rico. He was instrumental in the conservation of the Walter de Maria Lightning Fields in New Mexico, which included the major acquisition of land surrounding the work for its posterity and protection.

Since 1992, Vergne has organized and curated monographic and thematic group exhibitions at major institutions around the world, including, among others, Let’s Entertain: Life’s Guilty Pleasures (travelled to Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris); How Latitudes Become Forms, Art in a Global Age (travelled to Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino), Carl André (travelled to Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid), Yves Klein (travelled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.), Huang Yong Ping (travelled to the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing) and Kara Walker (travelled to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris) . In 2006, Vergne co-curated the Whitney Biennial (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York) with Chrissie Iles working with over 50 artists. Furthermore, Vergne has edited and contributed to essays for numerous books and catalogues and has written for major art publications. He is also a frequent lecturer.

Vergne received a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Paris II, Assas and he received a BA in archeology and the history of modern art from the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne, where he continued his art history studies, earning an MA and a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (first doctoral diploma).

In 2014, Vergne was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in recognition of his 24 years of service to arts. He was also named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2004.





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