The Walker Art Center announced today that its former Senior Curator Philippe Vergne is returning to Minneapolis to become Deputy Director and Chief Curator, filling the vacancy left when Richard Flood accepted the position of Chief Curator at New York City’s New Museum of Contemporary Art. Vergne re-joins the staff in late September. Vergne left the Walker at the end of April 2005 to become Director of the Francois Pinault Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris as well as to co-curate the 2006 Whitney Biennial. When the Pinault Foundation moved its proposed museum from Paris to Venice, Italy, Vergne embraced the invitation to return to the Walker in a new position. Vergne and Walker Director Kathy Halbreich have promoted the Walker’s two curatorial fellows, Yasmil Raymond Ventura and Doryun Chong, to Assistant Curators, effective immediately. Vergne’s former position of Senior Curator will be filled in the upcoming months.
“The Paris project was unique—the location, the collection, my relationship with Francois Pinault, and the opportunity to start an institution from ground zero were all appealing,” said Vergne. “But, as a host of changes occurred, it became increasingly compelling to accept Kathy Halbreich’s offer to return to the Walker at this singular moment in its history. While it’s a special place I love and know well, it’s also a place which never stops inventing itself. I look forward to helping to frame its future in its new facility. It is also a very impressive responsibility and challenge to follow in Richard Flood’s footsteps.”
“It will be a huge pleasure for all of us—staff, Board, and community—to welcome Philippe home,” said Halbreich. “His interest in the ways in which the visual, performing, and media arts converge make him an ideal institutional leader now that all the disciplines can coexist under the roof of our new expansion. Few can rival Philippe’s appetite for the new: new artists, new work, new geographies, new theories, new ways of linking the historical to the contemporary, and new strategies for introducing our visitors to why art matters. He’s terribly smart, unusually committed, and wildly curious. A joy to work with, Philippe’s style of leadership includes regular doses of humor and humanity. I couldn’t imagine a better person to assume Richard Flood’s position, and it’s especially wonderful that the right person was right under our nose.”
Philippe Vergne Biography
Vergne joined the Walker Art Center staff in 1997. As Senior Curator and head of the Visual Arts department, he organized the exhibitions How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age, Let’s Entertain, and Herzog & de Meuron: In Process; coordinated artist residencies with Joep van Lieshout, Christian Marclay, and Nari Ward; and oversaw, with Flood, the collection exhibitions inaugurating the Walker’s expanded facility. He is currently curating for the Walker the first retrospective of the work of Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, a traveling exhibition that premieres in October 2005; a Kara Walker survey to premiere at the Walker in 2007; and the 2006 Whitney Biennial with Chrissie Iles. Vergne has brought to the Walker collection important works by artists Andre Cadere, Dan Graham, David Hammons, Thomas Hirshhorn, Huang Yong Ping, Pierre Huyghe, Cameron Jamie, Yves Klein, Otto Mühl, Hermann Nitsch, Philippe Parreno, and Franz West, among others.
Vergne was Director of the Musée d’art Contemporain (MAC), Marseille, from 1994 to 1997. In April 2004 he was honored with the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, a prestigious citation recognizing individuals who have distinguished themselves in the field of art and literature and have made significant contributions to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.
Yasmil Raymond Ventura Biography
Raymond Ventura received her B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999 and her M.A. from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in 2004. As a graduate student at the Center for Curatorial Studies, she organized The Happy Worker and co-curated Framing the Real: Works from the Marieluise Hessel Collection. As part of her graduate studies she was curatorial intern at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago and simultaneously research intern at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. She is currently assisting with the exhibitions ANDY WARHOL/SUPERNOVA: Stars, Deaths, and Disasters, 1962–1964 and Kiki Smith.
Doryun Chong Biography
Before joining the Walker, Doryun Chong worked in the curatorial department of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and organized/curated projects for the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2001) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2003). He studied art history, literature, and cultural anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, where he graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and with the Departmental Citation for Distinguished Achievement in Art History and was a University of California Chancellor’s Opportunity graduate fellow. He has participated in a number of symposia and lectured in San Francisco, Vancouver, Seoul, and Tokyo. He assisted with the recently opened exhibition Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967–2005, and is working with Vergne on the exhibition House of Oracles: A Huang Yong Ping Retrospective.