The Walker Art Center has appointed Peter Eleey as Visual Arts Curator effective March 26. He comes to Minneapolis from New York City where he currently serves as Curator and Producer at Creative Time, a leading presenter of new public art.
“Peter made a very strong impression on me and Kathy (Walker Director Kathy Halbreich) as a person with a unique intellectual agility, which means that he fully understands the goal, mission, and role of our institution, but does not crave the comfort of the status quo,” said Philippe Vergne, Walker Deputy Director and Chief Curator. “The exemplary range of projects he has initiated and developed at Creative Time demonstrates his breadth of vision and profound understanding of contemporary art and art history. He is well traveled and adept at juggling diverse disciplines and cultures; his gaze is rigorous, and he is a prolific writer with a sharp, opinionated pen.
“Peter’s ability to conceive and realize complex projects with an international spectrum of artists which have broad public appeal will benefit the Walker. Using his talents in the galleries, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and the community broadens the curatorial palette. I look forward to conversations with Peter: his engagement goes beyond aesthetics and is fed by his ability to smile with humorous distance. From time to time, you meet someone and intuitively you just feel that they’re right.”
Eleey joined Creative Time in 2002 as Project Director and has led the organization’s program planning since 2004, realizing some of the more ambitious projects in Creative Time’s 32-year history. While there he organized a diverse range of artworks and events, including Cai Guo-Qiang’s Light Cycle (2003), a pyrotechnics project for Central Park; Jenny Holzer’s first xenon projections in the United States, For New York City (2004); and sculptures, murals, videos and performances with artists including Jim Hodges, Mark Titchner, William Forsythe, Zhang Huan, Shirazeh Houshiary, and Song Dong. In addition, he curated multi-artist projects and exhibitions such as The Dreamland Artist Club (2004) with Stephen Powers and two dozen other artists in Coney Island; The Plain of Heaven (2005), an exhibition situated in a vacant meatpacking warehouse in Manhattan; and, with Laura Hoptman, Strange Powers (2006). This fall, he organized projects with Paul Chan, Coco Fusco, Jens Haaning, and Michael Rakowitz, as well as Haluk Akakçe’s Sky is the Limit in Las Vegas, a new work for the largest video screen in the world. Doug Aitken’s sleepwalkers, a joint commission of Creative Time and the Museum of Modern Art that Eleey has co-curated with Klaus Biesenbach, opens at the Museum on January 16. Eleey has contributed to a variety of catalogues and publications, including Afterall, frieze, and Public Art Review, and he has lectured internationally on issues related to public art practice. He is a graduate of Yale University.
Eleey says, “It is a great pleasure to join a museum that has built such a strong and loyal community. The Walker’s commitment to creatively rethinking the role that art can play in our lives makes it a particularly exciting place for me.”