After a Lengthy Search, Creative Time Taps a Texas Museum Leader for Its Top Post

Justine Ludwig is joining the nonprofit, which has seen a great deal of turnover in top leadership over the last three years.

Justine Ludwig. Photo courtesy of Charlie Rubin.
Justine Ludwig. Photo courtesy of Charlie Rubin.

After a nine-month search, New York art nonprofit Creative Time has named Justine Ludwig, currently the deputy director and chief curator of the Dallas Contemporary, as its new executive director. She succeeds acting director Alyssa Nitchun, formerly Creative Time’s deputy director.

“I have admired Creative Time, with its commitment to social justice and art within the public sphere, for many years,” said Ludwig in a statement. “I believe that art is one of the greatest tools we have access to in creating better communities, and am committed to a Creative Time that stays ahead of the curve and establishes the golden standard for the social impact of creative visions.”

It’s been a period of transition for Creative Time since longtime executive director Anne Pasternak was tapped to take over as director of the Brooklyn Museum in 2015. In February of the following year, acting director Katie Hollander, an eight-year veteran of the organization, was officially named to the top post. She resigned in June 2017, less than 18 months later, having organized exhibitions such as Pedro Reyes’s “Doomacracyhaunted house and Sophie Calle’s “Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery,” which will run for another 24 years.

Creative Time Presents Sophie Calle's "Here Lies the Secrets of the Green-Wood Cementery." Courtesy of Creative Time/photographer Leandro Justen.

Creative Time Presents Sophie Calle’s “Here Lies the Secrets of the Green-Wood Cementery.” Courtesy of Creative Time/photographer Leandro Justen.

In October, Creative Time also lost longtime curator Nato Thompson to the new Philadelphia Contemporary, where he is now artistic director. After 10 years with the nonprofit, he had been promoted from chief curator to artistic director just months before. Ludwig told the New York Times that replacing Thompson will be among her top priorities.

The Dallas Contemporary hired Ludwig as its director of exhibitions and senior curator in January 2015. She had previously served in assistant and adjunct curator roles at the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati, following posts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Brandeis’s Rose Art Museum in Massachusetts, the Colby College Museum of Art in Maine, and the MIT List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ambreen Butt, Installation view of "What Is Left of Me" at the Dallas Contemporary (2017). Photo by Kevin Todora

Installation view of Ambreen Butt’s “What Is Left of Me” at the Dallas Contemporary (2017). Photo by Kevin Todora

Ludwig’s curatorial priorities lean toward female artists: Her solo shows at the Dallas Contemporary include Pia Camil, who hung a massive awning created from illegally imported bargain t-shirt from Mexico; Ambreen Butt, who speaks to political oppression and violence through contemporary takes on traditional Persian miniature painting; Paola Pivi, known for her massive feather-covered polar bear sculptures; and Anila Quayyum Agha, who restaged her 2014 ArtPrize-winning piece Intersections at the museum.

Creative Time’s upcoming projects include the continuation of its 16-month long “Pledges of Allegiance” series featuring artist-designed flags flying outside of various participating art institutions, and “Phil Collins: Bring Down the Walls,” a three-part public art project critiquing the criminal justice system that will open in New York in May. In addition, the organization will stage its first international commission, “Basilsea,” at Art Basel in Basel, also in May.

Ludwig will officially start her position on June 15, 2018.


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