Cara Starke Takes the Helm at St. Louis’s Pulitzer Arts Foundation

Cara Starke.
Photo: Elisabeth Smolarz.

Cara Starke will head to St. Louis, Missouri, this summer to take over as director of Pulitzer Arts Foundation. Starke replaces Kristina Van Dyke, who will leave in May after three-and-a-half years in the post to pursue independent projects.

As director of exhibitions at the New York public art nonprofit Creative Time, where she has worked since 2011, Starke has overseen projects large and small, from Kara Walker’s blockbuster A Subtlety (see Kara Walker on Her Bittersweet Colossus) to Suzanne Lacy’s Between the Door and the Street, which saw small groups of women of color congregate on Brooklyn stoops for frank conversations. The organization is also headed to Venice next month to participate in the Venice Biennale (see Is Creative Time Heading to the Venice Biennale?), along with organizing an ambitious group exhibition in Central Park (see The Next Big Creative Time Project Will Land in Central Park).

Prior to Creative Time, Starke was assistant curator for six years in the department of media and performance art at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She was among the first hires in a new department that has been headed up by Klaus Biesenbach since its opening in 2006. While there, she organized shows of artists including Doug Aitken, Olafur Eliasson, William Kentridge, and Pipilotti Rist. She earned an MA in art history from Williams College and a BA in art history from Cornell.

Pulitzer, founded by Emily Rauh Pulitzer in 2001, is housed in a concrete-and-glass building designed by Pritzker-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando. A 3,600-square-foot expansion of its galleries, increasing its exhibition space by more than half, will be unveiled in May with solo exhibitions of Alexander Calder, Fred Sandback, and Richard Tuttle.

Along with its contemporary art programming, Pulitzer Arts Foundation is known for such socially conscious initiatives as Marfa Dialogues / St. Louis, a summit on climate change, and Staging, a project that invites ex-cons and homeless veterans to perform scripts in the galleries based on their reactions to artwork. It is a non-collecting institution, though artists have been invited to organize shows from Emily Pulitzer’s collection.

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