When Kathy Halbreich announced she would leave the Walker Art Center after nearly 17 years as its director, she told the New York Times “ I can’t imagine any other institution capturing my talents and spirits so perfectly.”
Apparently, her imagination has found that institution.
The Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, is creating a position for Halbreich, naming her the museum’s only associate director. She will focus on contemporary art initiatives and programming for both the museum and its affiliate, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center.
Rather than lead a department or spearhead exhibitions, Halbreich will work across the institution to help define, structure and extend MoMA’s commitment to contemporary art. She will lead the museum’s curatorial committee for contemporary work, help develop museum acquisitions of new work and play a role in museum advocacy.
Halbreich, who ends her Walker tenure at the end of October, begins her new gig February 2008. She will report to MoMA Director Glenn Lowry.
Some might raise an eyebrow over Halbreich’s move from a director position at one of the world’s leading contemporary arts institutions to an associate director post at a museum with many focuses, but Halbreich sees the step as part of her personal and professional evolution.
“ When I resigned from the Walker, I decided that my days as a museum director were over and I wanted to discover the next chapter in my career,” Halbreich said through the MoMA. “ I look forward to focusing on art and artists, which are the most challenging and stimulating concerns I can imagine.”
Two weeks ago, the Walker announced Olga Viso, director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, as Halbreich’s replacement. Viso begins at the Walker in January.