After more than a year-long search, the Hammer Museum has hired Connie Butler, currently the chief curator of drawings at the
She is leaving that position by July 1 in order to assume her L.A. post mid-month.
Around the same time, Aram Moshayedi, 31, known for his work with the alternative art spaces REDCAT and
Butler, 50, is a well-known and well-liked figure in the art world, admired for championing artists who are not art-market darlings — and sometimes unfamiliar even to avid museum-goers.
She made her name in L.A. as a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art from 1996 to 2006, organizing exhibitions like "WACK!," a groundbreaking survey of feminist art. Upon her departure for New York, art critic Doug Harvey called her the “most authentically intellectual curatorial voice” at
Her new job as chief curator involves shaping Hammer programs and exhibitions and helping to build its cutting-edge collection, which counts drawings as a primary focus.
Last fall Times art critic Christopher Knight called the Hammer's chief curator position "something of a revolving door."
But this time is different, Philbin said. She has removed some of the administrative duties from the chief curator position, which used to also carry the title of deputy director.
One new project that will come under Butler's purview is the Hammer's winning proposal for the LA2050 competition, which awarded $100,000 grants to 10 organizations that serve the L.A. area in fields like arts and culture, education and housing.
Butler spent the early '90s in New York, working at one point as a curator for Artists Space (then in
Any chance it will come to the Hammer? "We actually haven't discussed it. It's a big show and a costly show, so I don't know," she said. "But I have a not-small list of projects that I really look forward to bringing to my colleagues there and hopefully gaining their support."
[For the record 8:42 p.m. May 22: Butler co-curated the Kay Rosen show, which ran at both MOCA and Otis College of Art and Design, with Terry R. Myers.]