As it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, SITE Santa Fe, one of the most closely watched art spaces in the American Southwest, will lose its director. Irene Hofmann, who has served as director and chief curator of the institution since 2010, will step down from her post in January of next year, the New Mexico institution revealed on Tuesday.
In its announcement, the museum did not specify where Hofmann was headed next. While it undertakes a new search for a director, Clare Samayoa, SITE Santa Fe’s director of finance and administration, will serve as interim director.
In a statement, Hofmann said, “As I step down after a decade of rewarding work, I do so knowing that SITE is positioned well for the future. Forward-looking institutions like SITE benefit greatly from the infusion of new ideas and new voices.”
Under Hofmann’s direction, SITE Santa Fe—a small art space that now has a large influence—grew significantly in reputation. Although the museum’s biennial, SITElines, was launched long before Hofmann arrived, she effectively reimagined the recurring exhibition series, turning it into a survey that lured major talents from around the Americas. Among the curators to have worked on editions in recent years are luminaries such as Ruba Katrib, Pablo León de la Barra, Kathleen Ash-Milby, and Candice Hopkins.
More recently, during the pandemic, SITE Santa Fe has faced financial tumult, along with many other U.S. institutions. In July, the museum eliminated one of its most high-ranking positions, its director of external of affairs. At the time, Hofmann told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the pandemic has meant “coming to terms with changes we needed to make in our scale and then realizing that meant our staff.”