After about two and a half years as senior curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Dan Byers is headed five miles west-northwest to Cambridge to serve as director of Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.
Byers will be taking the place of James Voorhies, who was tapped last summer to become dean of fine arts at the California College of the Arts in Oakland.
Robin Kelsey, the dean of arts and humanities at Harvard, said in a statement that “Byers has a wealth of curatorial expertise, and he is arriving when ambitions for the arts at Harvard are stronger than ever. I look forward to supporting his efforts to make the Carpenter Center buzz and spark.”
Buzzing and sparking seem like solid bets. At the ICA, Byers’s projects included solo shows with such superb artists as Chicago’s Diane Simpson and Vancouver’s Geoffrey Farmer, as well as a group show called “The Artist’s Museum,” which featured Rachel Harrison, Louise Lawler, and Christian Marclay, among others.
Before arriving in Boston, Byers was curator of modern and contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where he co-curated the quite wonderful 2013 Carnegie International and organized solo shows with Ragnar Kjartansson, Cathy Wilkes, and more.
Byers said in a statement, “I foresee a diverse program with artists at its center, building on CCVA’s recent reinvigoration, to create a program that is locally and internationally relevant, experimental, and inclusive, the kind of art center we need now more than ever.”
Fun facts: as the news release for the hire notes—and I’ll quote here in full—the “Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts is housed alongside the Visual and Environmental Studies Department and Harvard Film Archive in the only Le Corbusier structure designed and built in North America.” Not a bad place to work!