Lauri Firstenberg, who founded the Los Angeles alternative art space LAXART as a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard, is leaving the nonprofit organization at the end of March, ARTnews has learned. A release indicates that she will “pursue other career opportunities.”The board of directors have formally convened a search for a new director, and in the meantime, deputy director Catherine Taft, who joined LAXART last October, will work with the staff to oversee the rest of the year’s programming.
“It has been an extraordinary gift to participate in the discourse of artistic production in light of an ever-shifting art community and city,” Firstenberg wrote to LAXART supporters. “Together we have produced over 500 experimental exhibitions, public art initiatives, discursive programs and partnerships with leading institutions in the form of biennials and festivals.”
Firstenberg started LAXART in 2005 after moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles following a stint working at Artists Space in New York. Since then, she has overseen over 500 exhibitions, many devoted to L.A. artists. She also oversaw, last year, a move from the organization’s original Culver City location to a new space in an historic former recording studio in Hollywood.
The board has already begun to review candidates while the organization begins to transition to a future without its founder in the director chair.