The Socrates Sculpture Park in the Long Island City area of Queens has named Tamsin Dillon as its next executive director. Dillon succeeds Suzy Delvalle, who has served as interim director since July, and John Hatfield, who was executive director from 2012 until 2021. She begins in her role this month.
Dillon has over 25 years of experience in mounting public art projects. After moving to New York in 2019, she founded Art in Public to commission new work. Last year, she curated “Waterfronts,” a showing of seven temporary outdoor artworks exhibited around England’s Creative Coast (which encompasses Kent, Essex, and Sussex). That exhibition included commissions by Michael Rakowitz, Mariana Castillo Deball, Holly Hendry, and Pilar Quinteros. She has also previously worked on commissioning artists’ works in the London Underground and King’s Cross, and for a project intended to commemorate World War I.
Dillon was selected by a board committee that included Michelle Coffey, Robert F. Goldrich, Shaun Leonardo, Ivana Mestrovic, and Brooke Kamin Rapaport. In a statement, the committee said, “Tamsin is an innovative cultural leader that will take Socrates into the next stage of its evolution. She carries a profound passion for both the necessity of green space in our urban centers and for the expanding role of art and artists in our communities. … We are confident that Tamsin will inspire our staff, artists, partners, and neighbors to think boldly about how the Park can position itself as a principal model for the intersection of art, the natural environment and social justice.”
In recent years, Socrates Sculpture Park has become known for the large-scale installation-based exhibitions that it mounts, working with artists like Guadalupe Maravilla, Nari Ward, Agnes Denes, and Virginia Overton. In 2020, the organization mounted a two-part exhibition called “Monuments Now.” The first part included new commissions from Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas, and Xaviera Simmons, and was later accompanied by a section subtitled “Call and Response,” in which the park’s 10 artist fellows created new works in response to the pieces unveiled in part one.
“I think of Socrates as a very special place in terms of what it’s managed to achieve over the past 35-odd years,” Dillon said in an interview. “A lot of people think of it as one of New York’s best-kept secrets in terms of what’s done in the past, what it can do, and what it has the potential to do. What I hope I can do is support it in bringing it even wider acclaim for the artists, the community.”