Mary Ceruti (photo by Troy Benson)

Walker Art Center’s new executive director, Mary Ceruti, made her first official public appearance Tuesday at a press preview for the show “Five Ways In: Themes From the Collection.”

In brief remarks, Ceruti noted that it was “exciting to come to the Walker because of the strong permanent collection.”

The Walker is a shift for her. She spent the past 20 years as executive director at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, N.Y., an institution that does not have a permanent collection. The new exhibit is drawn from the Walker’s permanent collection of 13,000 pieces, about half of them works-on-paper. 

Sculpture is her specialty, and during the tour she did comment that one of the artists in “Five Ways In,” sculptor Martin Puryear, will represent the U.S. in the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Ceruti’s first day at the Walker was Jan. 28, around the time the Polar Vortex hit the Twin Cities. She is the sixth director of the Walker since 1940, and the third consecutive woman. 

“Five Ways In,” which opens Thursday, takes a broad approach to thinking about contemporary art. Thematically the exhibition is divided into five sections: “Outside,” “Inside,” “Self,” “Everyday,” and “Everything.” (There are more “self”-themed pieces than anything else, because isn’t that what art is really about?)

Including many of the Walker's most popular works, including pieces by Edward Hopper, Georgi O'Keeffe. George Segal and Andy Warhol, this “teaching show” is aimed in part at schoolchildren, and wall texts will be translated into Spanish and Somali.  

This is the third show of works from the permanent collection currently at the Walker. "I Am You, You Are Too" is on view through March 20, 2020, and "Platforms: Collection and Commissions," a show of moving-image works, continues through Aug. 25.

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