New York, NY - Dia Art Foundation today announced that Philippe Vergne will be stepping down as director. As director since mid-2008, Mr. Vergne has worked to advance Dia's mission of supporting and preserving the vision of artists, overseeing Dia's programs and operations at Dia:Beacon in New York's Hudson Valley and at the long-term sites in Manhattan, Long Island, and the American West. He also spearheaded Dia's plan to expand its presence on West 22nd Street in New York City. He will become director of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
"It is hard to leave Dia, especially at this exciting moment when all of the building blocks have been put in place by the Board for Dia to return to New York City. I look forward to Dia's great success as it is on the cusp of an exhilarating new era," said Philippe Vergne. "I am honored to be joining the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. I have admired its collection and programs throughout my career and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead MOCA into its next phase. Also, Los Angeles is my wife's native city and we are both excited to be moving closer to family."
Longtime board member and former Dia director Charles Wright will serve as interim director. The Board of Trustees has begun to develop a search committee to identify a successor.
"Under Philippe's leadership, Dia has moved forward with bold plans for its future and we are poised to do great things," said Dia board chair Nathalie de Gunzburg. "Philippe's vision and energy helped bring us to this pivotal moment, including securing Dia's collection and Western Projects, and commissioning new work, and we are committed to continuing to build momentum."
At Dia, Mr. Vergne served as an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees and was a member of the Board of the Andy Warhol Museum, which Dia helped to found in 1994. His notable projects at Dia include Thomas Hirschhorn's Gramsci Monument in the Bronx (summer 2013), the development of a fund for acquisitions through strategic deaccessioning (fall 2013), the U.S. premiere of Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson's Night Stand (October 2013); and Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958-2010, the first major retrospective exhibition of the artist's work in the United States since the 1970s (opening at Dia:Beacon on May 5, 2014, before an international tour).
Prior to joining Dia, Mr. Vergne was deputy director and chief curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (1997-2008). Over the course of his career, he has organized more than 25 international exhibitions, including the 2006 Whitney Biennial (co-curated with Chrissie Iles) and Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, which premiered at the Walker. From 1994 to 1997, he was director of the Musée d'Art Contemporain (MAC) in Marseille. Born in France, Mr. Vergne received a BA in law from the University of Paris II, Assas (1988), and subsequent degrees in archaeology and art history from the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne (BA, 1989; MA, 1991; First Doctoral Diploma, 1992). In 2004, he was awarded the prestigious medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in recognition of his professional achievements in the fields of art and literature.
Dia Art Foundation
Dia Art Foundation, founded in 1974, is committed to initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving extraordinary art projects. Dia:Beacon opened in May 2003 in Beacon, New York. Dia also maintains several long-term, site-specific projects including Walter De Maria's The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), Max Neuhaus's Times Square (1977), Joseph Beuys's 7000 Oaks (1988), and Dan Flavin's untitled (1996), all in Manhattan; the Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton, New York; De Maria's The Vertical Earth Kilometer (1977) in Kassel, Germany; Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty (1970) in the Great Salt Lake, Utah; and De Maria's The Lightning Field (1977) in Quemado, New Mexico.
Dia also commissions original artists' projects produced for the web and produces scholarly publications. Dia currently presents temporary installations, performances, lectures, and readings on West 22nd Street in the Chelsea section of New York City, the neighborhood it helped pioneer.
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