After less than a year as the Brooklyn Museum’s deputy director and chief curator, Nancy Spector will leave her new post to become the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s first-ever artistic director and its Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, a position that will have her in charge of curatorial activities at all Guggenheim museums worldwide. This marks a return for Spector to the Guggenheim, where she was previously deputy director, before leaving last year to work at the Brooklyn Museum.
Prior to making her career change, Spector had worked at the Guggenheim for 29 years. In that time, she curated numerous important exhibitions, among them Matthew Barney’s 2003 “Cremaster Cycle” show, a 2012 Maurizio Cattelan survey, and last year’s Fischli/Weiss retrospective. Aside from overseeing various memorable shows, she also conceived the museum’s biennial Hugo Boss Prize, which comes with $100,000 and a solo show, and honors a contemporary artist chosen by a jury. She also co-curated the first Berlin Biennale with Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist, in 1998, and was an adjunct curator for the 1997 Venice Biennale.
The circumstances surrounding Spector’s return to the Guggenheim are still vague, but she explained in a statement that “when Richard Armstrong approached me with the new position of artistic director at the Guggenheim, I simply could not let this extraordinary opportunity—which is truly unique to the Guggenheim—pass me by. I look forward to working with my Guggenheim colleagues in New York and around the world in envisioning the many innovative programs and initiatives we will create together in the coming years.” She will once again report to Armstrong, the director of the Guggenheim Foundation.
Spector was Anne Pasternak’s first hire when she replaced Arnold Lehman as director of the Brooklyn Museum. She oversaw the museum’s “Year of Yes” program, a one-year initiative that attempts to redefine feminist art through a series of exhibitions. Among the shows that are part of “Year of Yes” are the museum’s upcoming shows about Georgia O’Keeffe and black radical women artists.
“Her time here has been a time of real action. We will build on these foundations and look forward to collaborating with Nancy in the future,” Pasternak said in a statement. “We wish her all the best in this great new international adventure.”
Correction 2/16/2017, 10:05 a.m.: An earlier version of this article misstated details about the Brooklyn Museum's "Year of Yes" program. It is a one-year initiative, not a ten-year one. The post has been updated to reflect this.