ICA Philadelphia appoints new Chief Curator, Senior Curator, and Director of Public Engagement

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ICA Philadelphia appoints new Chief Curator, Senior Curator, and Director of Public Engagement
Rachell Morillo, DAJ Director of Public Engagement and Research. Photo by Rachell Morillo.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania today announced the appointment of two new senior members of its curatorial and public engagement teams, with Hallie Ringle joining from the Birmingham Museum of Art as the ICA’s next Daniel and Brett Sundheim Chief Curator on September 16, and Rachell Morillo from the Museum of Modern Art as the ICA’s DAJ Director of Public Engagement and Research on September 12. The institute simultaneously announced the promotion of ICA curator Alex Klein to become its Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE '60) Senior Curator. Together with Zo Ryan, the ICA’s Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director, the three form ICA’s leadership team focused on program development working collaboratively to invigorate its exhibitions and public engagement programs, building upon the museum’s history as an experimental hub for contemporary art from around the world.

These appointments reflect a broader inflection point for ICA, which under the directorship of Ryan has launched a strategic visioning process to amplify and deepen its engagement with the communities it serves. Drawing upon their experiences as contemporary art curators and educators, Ringle, Klein, and Morillo bring diverse perspectives and expertise that will serve to expand the reach, relevance, and impact of ICA’s exhibitions, publications, and programs, fostering a multi-disciplinary creative platform focused on deepening audience engagement.

“Hallie and Rachell bring a wealth of experience in innovative program development and audience engagement that resonates with ICA’s history of risk-taking and reflects our commitment to deepening connections throughout our community,” said Ryan. “Alongside these new appointments, it is fitting to recognize the talent we have fostered from within ICA with the promotion of Alex, whose curatorial practice has focused on advancing the work of under-recognized artists and new scholarship across disciplines. Together the three women bring invaluable perspectives to our leadership team as ICA continues to forge artist-centric, culturally relevant, and community-responsive exhibitions, programs, and curricula.”

Said Ringle, “I deeply admire ICA’s commitment to working with underrecognized and emerging artists and ideas that resonate with its audiences and communities. Much of my curatorial practice centers emerging and underrecognized artists as well as themes that are important to place and people. I’m excited to embark on this new chapter with ICA, and to work collaboratively with the Board and senior leadership team in expanding and deepening community engagement in ICA’s program.”

“ICA has been a place I have visited to feel connected and inspired by Philadelphia’s vibrant cultural fabric for many years. I am therefore very excited to leverage my expertise in devising artist-centric, culturally affirming programming to build on its legacy of avant-garde programming and deepen its relationship to Penn’s academic community, West Philadelphia, and the contemporary art world more widely. I am particularly looking forward to collaborating with the leadership team to ensure our programming is rigorous, adventurous, and accessible across communities,” said Morillo.

Added Klein, “It is gratifying to be acknowledged, and I am honored to be part of the leadership team of this incredible organization as we head toward our 60th anniversary. I look forward to working alongside Zo and our new colleagues to deepen ICA’s local impact and global reach by expanding the institution’s dialogues with multiple communities and forging new connections with contemporary artists across disciplines.”

Hallie Ringle joins ICA from the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama, where she has served as Curator of Contemporary Art since 2018. In her role, Ringle has been responsible for developing a strategic plan for the museum’s collection of contemporary art from around the globe and for building partnerships with key donors and stakeholders as well as local and regional partners and community organizations to deepen engagement with and support of the museum’s program. She oversaw the curation of the museum’s collection galleries and has strategically expanded its holdings with recent acquisitions by Joe Minter, Celestia Morgan, Tara Donovan and N. Dash, among others. Recent special exhibitions curated by Ringle at the museum include solo presentations dedicated to Rico Gatson, Meritt Johnson, and Celestia Morgan, among others.

Ringle has concurrently served as the Museum of Modern Art’s PS1 Curator-at-Large since 2021, where she developed their residence-at-large program for artists impacted by the justice system. In 2019, Ringle was awarded the Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellowship through which she located nearly one thousand pieces of abstract artist Mavis Pusey’s work, including several hundred that were thought to be lost.

Prior to her work in Alabama, Ringle worked at The Studio Museum in Harlem, from 2013 to 2018, rising from Senior Curatorial Assistant to Assistant Curator. At the Studio Museum, Ringle commissioned major public art projects in collaboration with neighboring institutions, developed the museum’s exhibition program, and collaborated with resident artists. Exhibitions curated by Ringle at the museum included Maren Hassinger: Monument, Firelei Baez: Joy Out of Fire and Derrick Adams: Patrick, Kelly, the Journey, Rico Gatson: Icons 2007–2017, and Fictions (co-curated), among many others.

Ringle earned her master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin in Art History with a concentration in Contemporary African Art, and received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Art History and History.

As Associate Educator of Civic Engagement at the Museum of Modern Art, Rachell Morillo has served as the first staff person in a newly created area of the department focused on supporting the public, specifically minoritized audiences, in engaging with the museum as a civic space, as well as developing community-led programs and projects that spark critical dialogue and promote quality of life in New York City. Since joining MoMA in 2018, she has developed innovative, multi-modal programs responsive to the needs of underserved youth and communities. Morillo has also been responsible for co-leading departmental collaborative efforts to expand programming reach and impact, including piloting new program models by and for neurodivergent, LGBTQ, and BIPOC communities. While working on MoMA's Creativity Lab – a first-of-its-kind space dedicated to learning in the museum’s galleries – Morillo created a slate of programs connecting audiences with socially engaged artists and scholars.

Prior to working at MoMA, Morillo served as the Senior Coordinator of Public Programs & Community Engagement at The Studio Museum in Harlem from 2016 to 2018. At the Studio Museum, she oversaw a full range of on- and off-site public programs, community partnerships, and special projects. Morillo received a degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Swarthmore College.

Alex Klein has served on the curatorial staff at ICA since 2011, and was promoted to the position of the Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE ’60) Curator in 2015. During her tenure, Klein’s curatorial practice has centered on creative dialogue and collaboration, and resulted in the development of more than 20 exhibitions featuring a global network of contemporary artists, including Michelle Lopez, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Sondra Perry, Trevor Shimizu, Tony Cokes, Suki Seokyeong Kang, Barbara Kasten, Ane Graff, and Linda Goode Bryant. In addition to her work with artists, she has amplified ICA’s reach locally and internationally through institutional partnerships with organizations such as the Heine Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Slought, Philadelphia; and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.

Klein’s practice at ICA has extended beyond ICA’s exhibition walls, driving new artist commissions, developing over 200 public programs, originating publications, and conducting deep research. In 2016, Klein created I Is for Institute, a multi-faceted initiative that includes a website featuring over 50 interviews with international curators and directors of contemporary arts organizations reflecting on the state of the field and their work, a podcast, and exhibition collaborations with the Kunsthalle Lissabon, Portugal (2019) and RAW Material Company, Senegal (2022).

Concurrent with her work at ICA, Klein was appointed an inaugural agent of the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Hillman Photography Initiative and is a founding member of Museums Moving Forward. Previously, Klein held positions in the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Her writing has been published widely, including in Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (MIT Press), The Human Snapshot (MIT Press), How Soon Is Now? (Luma), and the critical volume on photography Words Without Pictures (LACMA / Aperture), which she also edited. Klein holds an MA in the History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, an MFA from UCLA, Los Angeles, and a BA in Art History from Columbia University, New York.

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