Comings and Goings

United States

Franklin Kelly, senior curator of American and British paintings at the National Gal­lery of Art in Washington, DC will take over from Alan Shestack as deputy director and chief curator on 1 October. Mr Kelly has been a curator at the National Gallery for 21 years. He has worked on major exhibitions including “J.M.W. Turner”, which closed earlier this year, and shows on Winslow Homer (1995) and Frederic Edwin Church (1989). He also led the campaign to acquire a number of major American and British paintings. Mr Shestack, 70, is retiring after 15 years in the post.

Gary Garrels has been appointed senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where he previously served as chief curator of painting and sculpture from 1993 to 2000. Mr Garrels is currently chief curator and deputy director of exhibitions and public programmes at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Before that, he served as chief curator in the department of drawings and curator in the department of painting and sculpture at MoMA, New York (2000-05). Mr Garrels takes up his new position in September and succeeds Madeleine Grynsztejn, who stepped down in March to become director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

David Travis, chair of the department of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, will retire at the end of this month. He has worked at the institution since 1972, first as an assistant curator of photography in the department of prints and drawings, becoming a full curator in 1975, when the department of photography was established. Mr Travis has organised more than 150 exhibitions at the gallery, including displays of Walker Evans, André Kertész, Edward Weston, Paul Strand, and Brassaï.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts has appointed Julien Robson as curator of contemporary art. He takes up his position on 7 July. Mr Robson comes to the academy from the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, where he has served as curator of contemporary art for the past eight years. At the Speed, Mr Robson organised exhibitions on Marcel Duchamp and Yinka Shonibare, among other artists. He replaces former curator Alex Baker who left the academy in November to become senior curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia.


Emily Ansenk has been appointed as the new director of the Kunsthal Rotterdam. Ms Ansenk, a Dutch art historian from Utrecht University, has been director of the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in Spanbroek, north Holland, since 1997. She succeeds Wim Pijbes, who is the new director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, starting next month.

Lynne Cooke, curator of the Dia Art Foundation in New York for the past 17 years, has been appointed chief curator of the Centro Reina Sofia in Madrid. She will also keep her position at Dia. “It’s not unusual for curators to work in two places,” Ms Cooke told The Art Newspaper. In her new role, Ms Cooke will develop exhibitions and related programming and manage the museum’s permanent collection. “The museum has a very strong 1930s collection, and a good collection of surrealism, but I think the 1960s and 70s are something that need real attention,” she says. Sources in New York say that Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the Centro Reina Sofia, and Ms Cooke were looking at works by Dan Flavin and Carl Andre in early May as possible acquisitions for the museum. On the prospect of collaborations, Ms Cooke says: “I could imagine commissioning a work by a younger artist or a monographic show that could travel to both places.”

United Arab Emirates

Charles Merewether has resigned from his post as deputy director of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District in Abu Dhabi, planned for completion in 2012-15 and which will house branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums. A curator, historian and former director of the Sydney Biennial, Mr Mere­wether joined the Tourism, Development & Investment Company last October to oversee the development of the museums and was the most high-level international appointment made by the management company. Citing his reasons for his departure as “complex”, Mr Mere­wether is nevertheless considering staying in the Gulf. Since resigning, he has travelled to Sydney to launch an exhibition and book on Ai Weiwei (at the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, until 26 July, and the Campbell­town Arts Centre, until 29 June), and to the Hong Kong Art Fair, which he chairs.

Lisbon-based Isabel Carlos has been named as curator of the ninth Sharjah Biennial, to be held next year from 16 March to 16 May. Ms Carlos was artistic director of the Sydney Biennial in 2004 and curator of the Portuguese pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005. She will be working with artistic director Jack Persekian and director Hoor Al Qasimi. Other curators may also be appointed. The biennial’s themes have not yet been chosen.

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