After a nearly yearlong search, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has named its new executive director: Mary Ceruti, who is currently director and chief curator of SculptureCenter in New York. She will begin in her post at the Walker in January. The news comes almost exactly a year after Olga Viso announced that she would step down as the Walker’s director.
“The Walker has been a trailblazer in identifying the experimental and influential art and artists of its time, continually demonstrating the power of art to help us understand, navigate and shape the contemporary world,” Ceruti said in a statement. “It is uniquely positioned to create new models for how museums work with artists and diverse constituencies.”
“I am looking forward to partnering with international artists and colleagues, the Minneapolis community, and the experienced and dedicated staff and board of the Walker to build on its world-class collection and ambitious programs,” her statement continued.
Ceruti has been at SculptureCenter since 1999. In that time, she has organized solo shows and commissions with more than 50 artists, including Leslie Hewitt, Liz Glynn, Rashid Johnson, Mike Kelley, and Mika Tajima, among others. Her tenure has been transformative for SculptureCenter: she oversaw the institution’s relocation from a carriage house on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to a former trolley station in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. That Queens space was purchased in 2001, and renovated by architect Maya Lin; in 2014, Andrew Berman Architect expanded the galleries.
Andreas Beroutsos, the chair of SculptureCenter’s board, said in a statement, “Throughout her tenure, Mary served the SculptureCenter with distinctive impact and vision. Consistent with our mission, values and history, Mary’s leadership focused on artists and supported artistic quality, insight and innovation. We wish Mary the very best for her next chapter at such a distinguished and important institution as the Walker Art Center.” SculptureCenter said it will immediately begin its search for a new executive director.
In 2013, with Ilaria Bonacossa, Ceruti curated the Icelandic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, which featured a “floating platform” by Katrín Sigurdardóttir. Prior to joining SculptureCenter, she was director of programs at Capp Street Project in San Francisco from 1992 to 1998. She had also worked independently as a writer and a curator, and organized three projects by the video artist Bill Viola through the San Francisco Arts Commission.
According to a release, Ceruti was chosen from a pool of ten candidates by members of the Walker’s board, including Jan Breyer, John Christakos, Andrew Duff, Karen Heithoff, Seena Hodges, and Laura Taft, as well as Donna Pohlad, who has previously co-chaired the museum’s capital campaign committee.
Christakos said in a statement, “Mary’s visionary leadership of SculptureCenter, her dedication to supporting the most important emerging artists of our time, and her well-known track record of attracting and developing great talent made her a tailor-made choice to lead the Walker now. We couldn’t be more excited for where Mary will take the Walker next.”