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Dominic Willsdon Named Director of Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, Virginia

Dominic Willsdon is headed to River City.


Another one of the many museum directorships that was vacated during a whirlwind year of personnel changes at U.S. arts institutions has now been filled: that of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. The position was left empty in January, when Lisa Freiman unexpectedly stepped down just a few months before the inauguration of its Steve Holl–designed building; now Dominic Willsdon, a 12-year veteran of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, has been hired to replace her. He starts December 1.

Willsdon has been curator of education and public practice at SFMOMA since 2006, and before that was curator of public programs at Tate Modern in London from 2000 to 2005. He was a curator of the Liverpool Biennial in 2016, and served as a pedagogical curator for the 2013 edition of the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He has held academic positions at the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California, and the Royal College of Art in London.

“I have admired the ICA team’s work to create this phenomenal new institution, which has demonstrated in a few short months how art and dialogue can powerfully address issues in society today,” Willsdon said in a statement to press.

Joseph Seipel, dean emeritus at VCU, had been serving as acting director while the museum looked for a permanent successor to Freiman.

Gail Hackett, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at VCU, said in a statement, “Dominic is a dynamic leader, curator and educator in the contemporary art world, and his career-long focus on issues related to cultural equity, inclusion, and civic engagement make him a natural fit for the ICA.”

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