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Curator Paul Schimmel departs Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in Los Angeles

Curator Paul Schimmel departs Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in Los Angeles
Paul Schimmel at the Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel gallery space in downtown Los Angeles prior to opening in early 2016. (Nish Nalbandian / For The Times)

Paul Schimmel, the longtime Los Angeles curator best known for his defining tenure as the former chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, has departed Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, the downtown gallery he helped establish in spring 2016. The gallery functioned as the Los Angeles outpost of the European gallery Hauser & Wirth, which has locations in London and New York.

"Iwan Wirth and Manuela Wirth, co-founders and co-presidents of Hauser & Wirth, announced today that Paul Schimmel will no longer serve as director, partner, and vice president of the gallery," said a short statement issued Friday morning.

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No further reason was given for Schimmel's departure. Asked to elaborate, a representative for the gallery stated via email: "The gallery has no further comment at this time."

In the statement, Iwan Wirth is quoted as saying: "Going forward, Hauser & Wirth will continue building upon its longstanding, passionate commitment to Los Angeles with expanded programs, including an increasingly robust campaign of public events and community outreach activities, and an ever more dynamic schedule of exhibitions that celebrate our artists, and connections between California and the international scene."

Schimmel joined Hauser & Wirth in May 2013 — a departure from the extensive museum curatorial work he had done in the past, both at MOCA, and prior to that, at the Newport Harbor Art Museum (now the Orange County Museum of Art).

"I think it's going to be quite different in the respect that it will be done on a larger scale, have fewer exhibitions and a combination of selling and non-selling exhibitions," Schimmel told The Times of the venture when it was first announced in 2013.

The gallery — a hybrid mega-gallery and curated kunsthalle-style exhibition space — launched to much international fanfare with a critically acclaimed exhibition of abstract women sculptors. Other exhibitions have followed since without incident. And late last week, Schimmel could be seen at the gallery, busily unveiling a new exhibition of works by L.A. installation artist Jason Rhoades.

Schimmel could not be reached for comment.

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