“Kathy Halbreich’s reputation preceded her. I had the funny occasion to meet Kathy in relationship to a portrait Chuck Close had made of me in 1993 and that the Walker had purchased. The people at the Walker assumed it was a painting of Kathy, and I was very happy to be mistaken for her. Especially since my hair right now is quite white and unlike the painting.
Working with [curator] Siri Engberg at the Walker, I had the immense pleasure to spend time with Kathy. Her stewardship of the Walker contributed to making the museum one of the most serious and engaging contemporary arts museums in the country, through it’s programming, risk taking and deep commitment to contemporary art.”
—Kiki Smith, artist
“When I’m at some fancy-pants art party in New York or Berlin or whatever, I love to watch people’s faces when I say I live in Minnesota. First there is a look of disbelief. Then, a split second later, they usually say, ‘Isn’t the Walker fantastic . . . Kathy Halbreich is amazing.’ The Walker is fantastic. And Kathy Halbreich is amazing. I was 20 when Kathy came to the Walker. For 16 years — my entire life as an artist — she has guided our epicenter of contemporary art. In little ways, she has changed all of our lives. In big ways, she has changed my life. I doubt I’d ever find myself at some fancy-pants art party if it weren’t for her.”
—Alec Soth, photographer
“Kathy’s reach was ambitious and her grasp extraordinary. During her tenure, the Walker grew exponentially in international prominence and served as a laboratory for unprecedented experimentation. Thanks to Kathy and her talented staff, the Walker is a safe haven for art and artists and a beacon of excellence for contemporary museums everywhere.”
–Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown director, Whitney Museum of American Art
Get Walker Reader in your inbox. Sign up to receive first word about our original videos, commissioned essays, curatorial perspectives, and artist interviews.