Walker Art Center executive director steps down

Lawrence Kim
November 14, 2017

After ten years at the museum, Olga Viso will step down as executive director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis at the end of 2017.

Her time at the Walker also included the massive $75 million project that entailed remodeling the museum's entryway, restaurant, outside landscaping, and revamping the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, adding pieces that include Katharina Fritsch's giant blue rooster, Hahn/Cock.

The board will form a search committee to hire a new executive director.

Viso's tenure at the museum saw the completion of a $75-million capital campaign, an enlarged budget, and a series of acclaimed exhibitions, among them a 2017 Merce Cunningham survey (in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), a 2015 survey of global Pop art, and a version of a traveling Jack Whitten retrospective. "Completing the vision for the campus that began in 2005 with the Walker's Herzog and DeMeuron addition has been an absolute highlight".

More recently, however, Viso was at the center of a firestorm over a sculpture named "Scaffold" which depicted the gallows used to hang 38 Dakota Indian men in the wake of the U.S. -Dakota War of 1862. Eventually the Walker relented and removed the sculpture.

The Walker under Viso organized a number of popular exhibitions, including "Hippie Modernism", "International Pop" and "Merce Cunningham: Common Time". "Adios Utopia", now on display at the museum, features art from Cuba.

In the release Tuesday, board of trustees president Monica Nassif praised Viso for her contributions. In a statement, the Walker said its board and Viso "agreed that now is an ideal time for a transition".

The team assembled to lead the museum during the search for a new executive director includes Chief Advancement Officer Christopher Stevens, CFO Mary Polta, Senior Curator Siri Engberg and Human Resources Director Rishi Donat.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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