Nancy Spector Appointed Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Brooklyn Museum

She has been a key figure at the Guggenheim Museum for almost 30 years.

Nancy Spector. Photo: Lina Bertucci Courtesy the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.
Nancy Spector. Photo: Lina Bertucci Courtesy the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.

The renowned curator Nancy Spector has been appointed as deputy director and chief curator of the Brooklyn Museum, a role she will take up in April 2016.

The sensational appointment has sent waves through the art world, as Spector’s name has long been associated with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she has been a curator since 1989, and currently serves as chief curator and deputy director.

“I am excited about joining the Brooklyn Museum at this significant juncture in its history and working with Anne Pasternak and the curatorial team to redefine the role of an encyclopedic collection in the twenty-first century,” Spector said in a statement. “I am impressed by the institution’s deep roots in the local community, and I hope to add to the museum’s vitality and relevance by expanding its scope to include more international audiences both on-site and online. I look forward to engaging with the Brooklyn Museum as a place of both scholarship and experimentation,” she added.

Installation view of the exhibition “theanyspacewhatever” (2008) at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.<br>Photo: via Guggenheim Museum.

Installation view of the exhibition “theanyspacewhatever” (2008) at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Photo: via Guggenheim Museum.

Highlights of Spector’s career at the Guggenheim include landmark solo exhibitions by artists including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Matthew Barney, Richard Prince, Louise Bourgeois, Marina Abramović, Tino Sehgal, and Maurizio Cattelan. She also curated the group exhibitions “Moving Pictures,” “Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated),” and “theanyspacewhatever.”

Spector was also adjunct curator of the 1997 Venice Biennale, and co-curator of the first Berlin Biennale in 1998, alongside Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist. She was responsible for selecting Gonzalez-Torres for the American pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale, a curatorial decision that was met with controversy at the time.

Spector’s hire is the latest and most important move yet in Anne Pasternak’s strategy to rethink the Brooklyn Museum, which she directs since this summer. Spector, who, according to the museum’s press release, is a long-time Brooklyn resident, is Pasternak’s first senior staff hire.

“The Brooklyn Museum’s past is rooted in vision, courage, and a good measure of chutzpah. With Nancy Spector as our chief curator, we can count on a trailblazing future that charts new territory for our Museum,” Pasternak said in a statement. “We can expect Nancy to explore the important questions of the role of art and museums for the twenty-first century, shaking up old canons and proposing new ones, while sharing our love of art and artists with ever-expanding audiences,” added Pasternak.

Anne Pasternak.Photo Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, courtesy Creative Time.

Anne Pasternak.
Photo Timothy Greenfield-Sanders Courtesy Creative Time.

Pasternak is the former president and artistic director of New York arts non-profit Creative Time. She took over from Arnold Lehman, who had directed the Brooklyn museum for 17 years.

“Anne is one of the most dynamic and creative forces in the art world today,” Lehman said of his successor, when she was appointed. “I expect that once her extraordinary experience and energies are connected to the exciting, inclusive brand, and treasures of the Brooklyn Museum, the blend will be ‘dynamite!'”

The Brooklyn Museum, home to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, now boasts an impressive slate of female leaders. Besides the top positions held by Pasternak and Spector, the museum has Elizabeth Sackler, Stephanie Ingrassia, and Barbara Knowles Debs serving, respectively, as the chair, president, and vice chair of the institution’s board of trustees.


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