Photo credit: JERRY HOLT for the STAR TRIBUNE, March 2005
Former Walker Art Center executive director Kathy Halbreich announced this week that she will lead the Rauschenberg Foundation as executive director.
“It’s a foundation focused on doing the best for artists,” Halbreich told the New York Times in a phone interview. “The more I learned, the more perfect the match felt as my next chapter.”
Halbreich, who has been the associate director at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, makes her transition on the heels of the MoMA exhibition “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends,” the first 21st century retrospective that covered more than250 works from the artist’s six-decade career. This exhibition happened to occur at the same time as Rauschenberg’s collaborator Merce Cunningham’s “Common Time” exhibition was on view at the Walker.
Rauschenberg and Cunningham were considered in the same artist milieu with other pioneering conceptual artists such as Jasper Johns, John Cage, Susan Weil and Cy Twombly. MoMA worked closely with the Rauschenberg Foundation to organize the exhibition.
“My father’s work was bold, rigorously and relentlessly experimental, and engaged with cultures across the globe,” said Chris Rauschenberg, president of the foundation, in a statement. “Kathy embodies my father’s belief in art as transformational.”
Halbreich joined MoMA 10 years ago. Before that, she was executive director at the Walker in Minneapolis for 16 years, through 2007, leading its 2005 expansion and presenting major exhibitions featuring the work of Chantal Akerman, Joseph Beuys, Bruce Nauman, Kara Walker, and many more.
The Rauschenberg Foundation serves to support the continued promotion of his work and that of other, emerging artists. There is a residency program on Captiva Island, Fla., where the Rauschenberg foundation is located, but it is temporary closed after Hurricane Irma.
Halbreich’s new position begins on Nov. 1. She succeeds Christy MacLear, who left to work with Sotheby’s. In addition to working with the Rauschenberg Foundation, Halbreich will oversee the upcoming Bruce Nauman retrospective at MoMA. It opens next fall 2018.