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Museum Announces Historical Position for Chief Curator

April 7, 2014

Buffalo, NY – The Albright-Knox announces an historical position for its Chief Curator, Douglas Dreishpoon. 

As of May 1, Douglas Dreishpoon will assume a new role as the museum’s first Chief Curator Emeritus. “This change will allow Doug to focus on strategic curatorial issues, special exhibition projects, and scholarship,” said Dr. Janne Sirén, the museum’s Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director. “In this new position, Doug will be able to concentrate on specific Albright-Knox initiatives in addition to pursuing other projects beyond the museum.” Speaking of his new role, Dreishpoon said, “I am delighted at this point in my career to be able to focus on my passions: writing, research, collections development, and organizing exhibitions. The Albright-Knox’s world-class collection has been like manna to my art-historical soul, and continued access to it through exhibitions and publications is a great privilege.  At the same time, I look forward to working on other projects beyond the museum, particularly several writing projects that have been on hold.” 

In the coming months Dreishpoon will devote time to the organization of two concurrent exhibitions: paintings by Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) from the 1960s and 1970s; and a retrospective of paintings and works on paper by Paul Feeley (1910–1966), who spearheaded the art department at Bennington College when Frankenthaler was a student there during the late 1940s. Both exhibitions, opening on November 8, will highlight the museum’s fall gala. 

In addition to the Frankenthaler and Feeley projects, Dreishpoon is preparing a primary source book on modern and contemporary sculpture. What Is Sculpture?: Sculptors on Sculpture, part of the Documents of Twentieth-Century Art series, will be published by the University of California Press.

Dreishpoon will maintain a schedule of regular hours at the museum after May 1, as he remains in the institution’s fold as its strategic advisor on curatorial affairs, collections development, and exhibition planning. His contact information will remain unchanged.

Dreishpoon’s sixteen-year tenure at the Albright-Knox began in 1998 with his hire by Douglas G. Schultz, director of the museum from 1983 to 2003. Dreishpoon’s breakout exhibition, organized with co-curator Alan Trachtenberg, the Neil Gray, Jr. Professor Emeritus of English and American Studies at Yale University, and The New York Times photographic archives, opened at the Albright-Knox in 2002 and toured to eight venues around the United States. The Tumultuous Fifties: A View from The New York Times Photo Archives was followed by a series of historical and contemporary exhibitions that included Edwin Dickinson: Dreams and Realities (2002); Petah Coyne: Above and Beneath the Skin (2005); Robert Mangold: Beyond the Line, Paintings and Project, 2000–2008 (2009); Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980–2008 (2009); and, most recently, Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper, 1962–2010 (2013).  

Under the directorship of Louis Grachos from 2002 to 2012, and with the renewed focus on the museum’s distinguished history and collection, Dreishpoon organized, in addition to most of the exhibitions mentioned above, The Long Curve: 150 Years of Visionary Collecting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (2011), which is currently on national tour. With Grachos and Heather Pesanti, Albright-Knox curator from 2008 to 2012, Dreishpoon also organized DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002–2012 (2012), which displayed highlights from the museum’s recent acquisition activities.

Speaking of Dreishpoon’s transition and the Albright-Knox’s current curatorial team, Sirén stated, “This is a dynamic, ambitious group. Curator Cathleen Chaffee, Deputy Director Joe Lin-Hill, and our new Curator of Public Art, Aaron Ott, join Doug and Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes to create a larger, more versatile team that allows us to undertake a range of projects both at the Albright-Knox and in the wider sphere of Erie County. It is a great asset to have Doug’s institutional memory, expertise, and vision remain in the fold, and I look forward to working with all the AK curators to enhance our national and international visibility and continue our legacy of leadership and excellence.”