Los Angeles nonprofit art space LAXART has announced that Hamza Walker will be its next Executive Director starting October 1, following founder Lauri Firstenberg’s departure from the position earlier this year. He leaves his current position as director of education and associate curator at the Renaissance Society in Chicago.
Walker, with the Hammer Museum’s Aram Moshayedi, co-curated the critically praised 2016 Made in L.A. biennial. In the process, “What I learned is that in the last decade since LAXART’s founding, the landscape has changed significantly in L.A.; there’s a much more robust commercial scene, and the addition of a number of younger galleries,” Walker told ARTnews. “It’s a new chapter in the organization’s life, where the challenge is to find a path that’s urgent and relevant, especially under the rubric of an alternative space. They were once thought to be separate from the commercial gallery system in a way, but I would say that’s not at all the case now.”
Walker, an adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and winner of both the 2004 Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement and the 2010 Ordway Prize, is leaving the Renaissance Society after 22 years. He plans to relocate to Los Angeles full time.