President Tara Coniaris and the Board of Trustees of the Katonah Museum of Art
announced 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. Alexanders 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 Belindas contribution in making this a smooth transition.
Ms. Alexander looks forward to seizing upon the KMAs 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. Its 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 Walkers 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 Walkers most important acquisitions: the 3,000-object Merce Cunningham Dance Archive, which features unique works by Cunninghams famous artist collaborators including Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. Arguably the most sweeping and far-reaching exhibition of Ms. Alexanders 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 MoMAs 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 museums 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 KMAs Executive Director was undertaken through the services of Heidrick & Struggles, Naree W.S. Viner, Principal.