Wednesday, August 05, 2009

less is less

Kriston's got the news on Kristen Hileman's departure from the Hirshhorn to take up the position as curator of contemporary art for the BMA.

I talked to Hileman last night, and she seemed excited to be off to the charm city, repeating what she told Kriston about her interest in working for an institution that has a collection rooted in more than just modern and contemporary art. Add to that the fact that Baltimore's a cool town for contemporary art to begin with--see MICA, Transmodern, the Contemporary Museum, Creative Alliance--and this sounds like a pretty good move. (Blake Gopnik mused on contemporary art in Baltimore, and compared the Hirshhorn's contemporary programming to recent shows at the BMA and Contemporary here.)

If the Hirshhorn keeps losing people at this rate--first Olga Viso, then Anne Ellegood, now Kristen Hileman--they're going to turn into a ghost ship. The haunted museum!

Kriston also points out that Kerry Brougher says the 'horn will be looking for an associate and an assistant curator--not a curator and an associate curator--but that the searches will be international and national respectively. Kriston puts it best: "So there's a demotion, and the stakes are higher!"

Add to that the statement by new director Richard Koshalek (made in an interview with Tyler, quoted by K) that they'll be leaning on outside curators for programming, and this starts to sound ominous. Sure, maybe it's good news for independent curators and outside institutions with traveling shows...but it doesn't exactly sound like a winning strategy for redeveloping the already shaky Hirshhorn brand.

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