Ouster, Fame, Famine!


It’s another week of shake-ups and ousters in the city. In my mailbox, New York Magazine proclaims, “MoMA Cuts the Head off PS1,” featuring a thirty-year illustrated timeline of exhibition and institutional highlights from Alanna Heiss’ career. Maybe it’s the way some brains tick, but the article’s cover title conjured a metaphorical image of a post-coital praying mantis. Last September, a New York Times column had revealed early rumors that Kathy Albreich’s move as director of the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis to an Associate Director post at MoMA would lead to Heiss’ oust. Despite protests that she wanted to work a few more years, Glenn Lowry reportedly replied to Heiss, “I think I’m going to go ahead with the retirement plan.” It’s too bad. In a sentiment echoed by photographer Ryan McGinley and others, PS1 was the last museum left that was unafraid of not being perfect.

In other news, it is confirmed that the formidable Lynne Cooke will divide her time in New York and Madrid, as chief curator to the Reina Sofia. She will also stay on at DIA in full curatorial capacity, in the long wake of DIA’s thwarted attempts to secure space below Manhattan’s HighLine. The Whitney moves forward with unveiling its Renzo Piano plans for Ganesvoort Street at the HighLine in relatively calm seas, with proposed 50,000 square feet of new gallery space. Top end search firm Phillips Oppenheim remains on retention for a three-for-one replacement search for Lisa Dennison/Tom Krens at the Guggenheim and Phillipe de Montibello at the Met. Are there enough serious candidates left in the nation to go around? Hopefully, or else we need to radically re-think search criteria for museum directors. It’s a crucial time for leadership on all fronts.