Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has hired a new chief curator: Darsie Alexander from the Baltimore Museum of Art. Starting Nov. 10, she will replace Philippe Vergne, who also served as the Walker's deputy director before he left in August to head the Dia Art Foundation in New York City.

Alexander will oversee the work of eight curators including heads of the film, performing arts and design departments.

She is expected to strengthen the Walker's efforts to weave together all fields of contemporary art including photography, painting, video and works on paper.

"She will bring the right energy, dynamism and approach to working with all the curators in a more holistic manner," said Walker director Olga Viso. The women were colleagues and friends for much of the past decade during which Viso worked at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington and lived for a while in Baltimore.

Alexander, 43, has been at the Baltimore museum for eight years, beginning as associate curator in 2000 and serving as senior curator and head of the contemporary art department since 2005. Her many exhibitions include "SlideShow" (2005), "Robert Motherwell Meanings of Abstraction," (2006) and a retrospective of the Austrian sculptor Franz West that will open in Baltimore in October and may travel to the Walker. She has written extensively on performance art, conceptualism and new media.

Her first museum job was as assistant curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1998-2000). A 1988 graduate of Bates College, she earned a 1991 MA in art history from Williams College.

Her husband, David Little, is an art historian rumored to be the leading candidate for the photography curator post at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. They have two young children.


In other art news, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art Tuesday named Thomas P. Campbell, 46, as its new director and CEO beginning Jan 1, 2009. A British-born European tapestry expert, Campbell has a doctorate from the Courtauld Institute in London and has worked at the Metropolitan since 1995. He succeeds Philippe de Montebello, who will retire in December after 31 years.