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The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts appoints James Voorhies as Director
Most recently based in Bennington, Vermont, he taught art history and critical theory in the Visual Arts department at Bennington College.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts announced today the appointment of James Voorhies as the John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director of the Carpenter Center, effective February 5, 2014. A curator, art historian, and writer, Voorhies comes to the Carpenter Center from Bureau for Open Culture, an itinerant contemporary arts institution where he was director. Most recently based in Bennington, Vermont, he taught art history and critical theory in the Visual Arts department at Bennington College.

“We are delighted to have Jim take the helm,” said Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Harvard professor and interim director of the Carpenter Center. “This new position opens a chapter in the Carpenter Center’s history. Jim has a record as both an experimenter and a collaborator, and brings a vision of contemporary art as an integral part of Harvard’s intellectual life.”

“Throughout his career, James Voorhies has conceived of art exhibitions as fundamentally open, experimental, innovative, and collaborative sites of knowledge production and exchange,” said Deborah Martin Kao, Chief Curator; Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography; and Acting Head, Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, Harvard Art Museums. “The Harvard Art Museums greatly look forward to working in close partnership with the Carpenter Center under his leadership.”

Voorhies will be responsible for the development and presentation of exhibitions and public programming at the Carpenter Center, and will teach courses in curatorial practice and contemporary art. “It is an honor and privilege to join the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University and I look forward to working with students, faculty and staff in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies and the Harvard Film Archive,” said Mr. Voorhies. “It is an extraordinary opportunity to lead the CCVA into the next phase of its history and explore together with academic, regional, and international communities how the institution will expansively and imaginatively engage in contemporary art and culture, all transpiring in and around the only building by Le Corbusier in the United States. That’s thrilling.”

James Voorhies is the founding director of Bureau for Open Culture, an itinerant, nonprofit contemporary arts institution that collaborates with museums and universities to make exhibitions and publications in dialogue with artists and writers. While director of Bureau for Open Culture, Voorhies curated many exhibitions including, most recently, Last Year at Marienbad redux for the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts in New York, which explored how fictional narratives develop over time to form accepted knowledge of reality and featured work by artists such as Maya Schweizer, Gordon Matta-Clark, Keren Cytter and Josh Tonsfeldt.

In 2011, he organized I Am Searching for Field Character for MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, a four-month exhibition series and residency that examined the economic, social, and political qualities of the region.

From 2006–2011, Voorhies served as director of exhibitions at Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio, where he curated Of Other Spaces, an exhibition of work by artists such as Clemens von Wedemeyer, Jane and Louise Wilson, Dan Graham, and Guillaume Leblon that considered the influence of architecture on human behavior, and Descent to Revolution, a series of commissions for the public realm by artists such as Claire Fontaine, Red76, and Learning Site that investigated the impact of an urban environment on the social life of a city. Prior to Columbus, he held administrative positions at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum in New York.

From 2010–2013, Voorhies was a visiting faculty member at Bennington College in Vermont where he taught art history and critical theory. He has also taught at San Francisco Art Institute and Parsons The New School for Design. His writing has appeared in publications by Texte zur Kunst, frieze, and Printed Matter, Inc., as well as artist monographs, most recently on Darren Waterston and Robert Buck. He holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the Ohio State University.

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