Bartholomew Ryan (left) with artist Goshka Macuga and Walker curator Peter Eleey. Star Tribune file photo by Joel Koyama.
Walker Art Center curator Bartholomew Ryan is leaving Minneapolis for a senior curatorial post at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA starting May 18. He will be the Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Warhol institution.
Most recently, Ryan co-curated with Darsie Alexander the ambitious "International Pop" show which opened April 11 at the Walker. Five years in the making, "International Pop" brought to Minneapolis more than 175 artworks by 100 artists from 20 countries. A stellar example of in-depth scholarship combined with splendid showmanship, the show is a brilliant and wide-ranging reappraisal of a pivotal moment in American art.
Running through August 29, "International Pop" focuses on 1958 - 1972 when Pop art was being adopted as a stylistic and conceptual approach by artists around the world, many of whom looked askance at American consumer culture but nevertheless realized that the bold, colorful techniques of advertising and popular publications could be used effectively to critique and even lampoon the heavy-handed politics of dictatorial governments elsewhere.
Minneapolis pals and museum colleagues from around the country stopped to high-five and congratulate Ryan, 38, at the crowded IP opening party Saturday night. Sipping a beer, he ruminated a bit about his six year tenure at the Walker.
With all its resources of staff, money, reputation, and travel opportunities, the Walker gave him a privileged perspective on the art world, he said. Curators at many of the places he and Alexander visited in preparing the IP show simply couldn't afford to put together an exhibition of that scale. Still, thinking of the new Warhol post, he said he was looking forward to rethinking how Andy Warhol is understood in art history and finding new ways to interpret his work.
"Walker really changed my perspective on art," Ryan said. "It's been great here, but it's time," for a change.
The Warhol museum apparently agrees. Announcing Ryan's new position, the Warhol museum said his work on "International Pop" prepared him to "further contextualize Andy Warhol and his place in global art history."
Ryan joined the Walker as a curatorial fellow and stayed on as an assistant curator. Shows he organized for the Walker often brought together international artists not previously seen in the Midwest. His 2013 group exhibition "9 Artists" actually featured the work of eight artists: Yael Bartana, Liam Gillick, Renzo Martens, Bjarne Melgaard, Nastio Mosquito, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Hito Steyerl, and Danh Vo. That year he also co-curated "Painter Painter," an examination of contemporary approaches to abstraction. He oversaw the Walker's presentation of the 2012 traveling show "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s," and the previous year co-curated residency projects by Goshka Macuga and Pedro Reyes.
Ryan has a MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and a B.A in drama and theater studies from Trinity College, Dublin.