Worcester Art Museum Hires Curator of Contemporary Art

WORCESTER, MASS., September 8, 1999 - The Worcester Art Museum has appointed Susan L. Stoops as curator of Contemporary Art, effective September 7, 1999, to direct the Museum's bold and innovative contemporary art program, which focuses on acquiring and exhibiting art of the last 10 years.

In this position, which is the first endowed curatorship at the Worcester Art Museum, Stoops will organize exhibitions, acquire works for the Museum's permanent collection, and develop public programs. Her first exhibition in Worcester will be Outlook: Collecting the Contemporary (September 25, 1999 - February 29, 2000), which features acquisitions of works by Willie Cole, Annette Messager, Doris Salcedo, and Yinka Shonibare.

To confirm its renewed commitment to contemporary art, the Museum created a major contemporary art gallery last fall. Three exhibitions have been shown there so far, including Blurring the Boundaries, a retrospective of installation art of the last 25 years; Urban Visions, which showcased three international artists whose works examined issues of social space and urban environment; and Domesticated, a photography exhibit that emphasized domestic interiors and exteriors.

Stoops said she will use this gallery as a project space devoted to a series of solo or two- and three-person shows, introducing select bodies of new work by both established artists and a younger generation of artists from around the world. This will encourage a sense of the Worcester Art Museum as a laboratory for new ideas about contemporary visual culture. Calling the Worcester Art Museum's commitment to Stoops Hired as Curator of Contemporary Art showing art made in the last 10 years a "daring, liberating, and very real view of contemporary - one that emphasizes ongoing engagement with the present," Stoops said she intends to cultivate close relationships with local artists, as well as continue her ties with artists throughout New England.

In both collecting and exhibiting art, Stoops said she intends to select artists according to prevailing thematic issues in contemporary culture. Some of those issues will include identity politics and cultural representations, revisions to modernist abstraction, and new forms of narrative. "I look forward to introducing a broad range of subjects and objects that will serve as a visible and continuous connection between the Museum's historic collections and the art of our time," Stoops said.

Prior to joining the Worcester Art Museum, Stoops had been curator at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University since 1984. The author of several publications, she has also taught at the Massachusetts College of Art. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University, and a master of arts degree in art history from University of Massachusetts-Amherst. While at the Rose Art Museum, Stoops developed highly acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions, including More Then Minimal: Feminism and Abstraction in the '70s (which received the International Association of Art Critics Award in the category of Best Regional Museum Show for 1995-96), Jonathan Borofsky: The GOD Project, and Kiki Smith: Unfolding the Body.