For Immediate Release, New York, NY, June 24, 2008—The Board of Trustees of Dia Art Foundation today announced the appointment of Philippe Vergne as Dia’s new director. Mr. Vergne, currently deputy director and chief curator at the Walker Art Center, in Minneapolis, assumes his post on September 15, 2008. He succeeds Jeffrey Weiss, who left Dia in March of this year to resume his curatorial and scholarly career.
Mr. Vergne will lead a complex organization that comprises a museum in Beacon, New York, that houses Dia’s renowned permanent collection of art from the 1960s to the present and marked its fifth anniversary this year; long-term art installations sited in the American West, in Manhattan, and on Long Island; and a dynamic contemporary art program in New York City, for which it is searching for a home.
Dia Board Chairman Nathalie de Gunzburg states, "The Trustees and I are thrilled that Philippe Vergne will join Dia Art Foundation as our new director. We are extremely impressed with his profound knowledge of contemporary art, and his managerial and curatorial experience. Additionally, Philippe’s passion for Dia’s history and programs, alongside his enthusiasm, energy, and expertise in the visual, performing, and media arts make him the ideal director for Dia. I know that I speak for all of my colleagues when I say how delighted we are by the prospect of working with Philippe."
Mr. Vergne adds, "I am deeply honored to assume the directorship of Dia Art Foundation. Dia’s exemplary history, collections, projects, and programming have set the highest standards of commitment to excellence and risk-taking. By making the impossible possible, by enabling the creation of works that might not otherwise have been realized, Dia puts artists at the center of its activities and mission.
"Beyond being an institution, Dia is a laboratory and a muse. It represents a necessary, dynamic model - one that has challenged, refined, and deepened the rules of institutional engagement with artists, their art, and their audiences. Its contribution to the field of contemporary art and culture is invaluable. I am looking forward to working with and learning from Dia’s outstanding staff and its highly dedicated board in leading this unique and inspiring institution towards a new chapter."
Mr. Vergne is a highly respected museum professional in the world of contemporary art. Having joined the Walker in 1997, he organized more than twenty-five international exhibitions, including How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age, Let’s Entertain, Herzog & de Meuron: In Process, and the first retrospective of the work of Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, a traveling exhibition that premiered at the Walker in October 2005. He additionally coordinated artist residencies with Joep van Lieshout, Christian Marclay, and Nari Ward, and oversaw the collection exhibitions that inaugurated the Walker’s expanded facility.
In the fall of 2004, Mr. Vergne was appointed director of the Francois Pinault Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris. In July of 2005, when the Foundation moved its proposed museum from Paris to Venice, Mr. Vergne returned to the Walker as deputy director and chief curator. In 2006, he co-curated the Whitney Biennial, with Chrissie Iles, and in 2007, he organized Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the first survey of work by this artist; it premiered at the Walker Art Center before traveling to the Musée d’art moderne, in Paris; the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York City; the Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles; and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, where it opens on July 5, 2008. Over the past decade, Mr. Vergne has brought to the Walker collection significant works by artists including Doug Aitken, Daniel Buren, Tony Conrad, Dan Graham, Rineke Dijstra, Sheela Gowda, David Hammons, Thomas Hirshhorn, Mr. Huang, Pierre Huyghe, Cameron Jamie, Mike Kelley, Yves Klein, Luc Tuymans, Philippe Parreno, and Ms. Walker, among others.
A frequent lecturer, Mr. Vergne has edited and contributed essays to numerous books and catalogues, and has written for major art magazines. In 2008, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love was awarded the "Best Monograph Museum Show Nationally" by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). In 2005, ArtReview magazine named Mr. Vergne "one of the 100 most influential people in the art world," and in 2004, he was honored by the French government with the prestigious medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, which recognizes an individual’s professional achievements in the fields of art and literature.
Mr. Vergne was born in 1966 in Troyes, France. In 1988, he received a BA in law from the University of Paris II, Assas. In 1989, he received a BA in archaeology and the history of modern art from the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne, where he continued his studies, earning an MA (1991) and Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (First Doctoral Diploma) (1992), both in art history.
Dia Art Foundation
A nonprofit institution founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is internationally renowned for initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects. Dia presents public programs and its permanent collection of works from the 1960s through the present at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries. In the fall of 2007 Dia initiated a partnership with The Hispanic Society of America, where Dia presents commissions and projects by contemporary artists within the Society’s galleries while seeking a permanent home for these initiatives in New York City. Additionally, Dia Art Foundation maintains long-term, site-specific projects in the western United States, in New York City, and in Bridgehampton on Long Island. For additional public information, visit www.diaart.org.
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