After its former executive director, Stefan Kalmár, left to become the director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Artists Space will have Whitney Museum curator Jay Sanders pick up the reins. Starting in April, Sanders will be the new executive director and chief curator of the New York nonprofit, which is currently still seeking a new exhibition space after it lost its former Greene Street location this past June.
In his tenure at the Whitney, where he has worked since 2012, Sanders successfully reshaped the museum’s performance program, commissioning new works by artists such as Matana Roberts and MPA, and curating important exhibition and event series about Laura Poitras, DANCENOISE, Takehisa Kosugi, New Theater, and others. He and Elisabeth Sussman co-curated the 2012 Whitney Biennial, which has since been regarded as a watershed exhibition for the emphasis it placed on performance, film, and other time-based mediums. Among the last shows he’ll oversee at the Whitney is “Calder: Hypermobility,” an exhibition opening in June that surveys the role of motion in Alexander Calder’s work.
Prior to working at the Whitney, Sanders served as the director of New York’s Greene Naftali gallery from 2005 to 2010. He has also curated programs, series, and events for New York institutions such as White Columns, SculptureCenter, Performa, Anthology Film Archives, and Electronic Arts Intermix.
“Jay Sanders has the vision, energy, and sense of adventure that Artists Space demands, combined with great depth of critical insight and a wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary art,” David Joselit and Eleanor Cayre, the co-chairs of Artists Space’s executive search committee, said in a joint statement. “We could not have hoped to recruit a more brilliant executive director to carry forward this essential institution.”
Alongside the Sanders announcement came news that Artists Space had hired Jamie Stevens, who has been working as a curator at the nonprofit since October. Stevens was formerly the curator and head of programs of San Francisco’s CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, where he curated shows devoted to work by Josephine Pryde, Carissa Rodriguez, and Ellen Cantor, among others.
Artists Space is expected to announce the new location of its exhibition space within the coming few months. The nonprofit went public with the news that it had lost its Greene Street location, where it had been since it opened in 1972, this past May, after the SoHo mainstay’s landlord announced plans to build a penthouse on top of the building. For now, Artists Space is still running its bookstore out of 55 Walker Street, where it is also hosts talks, readings, and performances.