What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the way university galleries function, both within and outside the educational context, over the past decade? How have these changes influenced your work?
During the 20 years I’ve worked in university galleries and museums, one of the biggest changes I’ve observed is a tendency toward making education a more participatory and expansive practice and experience; also, an opening up, a programmatic externalization, for lack of a better term. Many of these galleries are reconsidering whom they serve, and how they function. Instead of serving primarily as a resource for students and faculty, many of these spaces are literally opening themselves up to a broader public by transforming themselves into welcoming social spaces where everyone in the community is invited to have direct, meaningful experiences not only with art and artists, but as sites where collective knowledge can be generated, and local conditions and urgent needs within the community can be addressed. Many of these spaces— The Galleries at Moore included— are challenging themselves, and the way they do things, by asking the question, “how can we surpass our current functions?”
I’ve also seen a shift toward programming that is more expansive and interdisciplinary, that brings the visual arts into dialogue with the performing arts, humanities, and social sciences. I think the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College is leading the charge in showing us how thoughtfully, and successfully, this can be done.
How do you envision The Galleries at Moore in five years? In 10? How will you be different than you are today?
I think what The Galleries look like, and what we are doing, in five or 10 years will build upon what we’ve learned and accomplished during the past four years. Since 2011, we’ve focused on rebuilding our audience, redefining our mission, and developing programming that is vibrant and challenging, with a sharp artistic focus that sets us apart from our institutional peers.
I envision us continuing to develop adventurous, multidisciplinary programming and interpretive programs that are audience-driven, and organizing exhibitions as ambitious, and international in scope, as Strange Currencies. Our collaborations with artist-run spaces and other cultural organizations in the city will continue, and I hope we will have the means and capacity to extend and expand our collaborative and partnering efforts beyond the confines of the city and the region. Collaborating on an international scale would be terrific, and very much in line with our long-term programmatic goals.
In 10 years, I’d like to see The Galleries establish a residency program that goes beyond the conventionally circumscribed studio program model, one that brings visual artists, curators, filmmakers, writers, and other creative practitioners into direct contact with our internal and external stakeholders.