Appoints Donna De Salvo to New Position of Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, and Scott Rothkopf to Deputy Director for Programs and Chief Curator
Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, today announced that the Museum is expanding its leadership team by appointing Donna De Salvo to the new position of Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, and Scott Rothkopf to Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, effective July 1, 2015. The move is designed to bolster the Whitney’s leadership in response to the recent growth of the Museum, the ever-widening programming opportunities available in its new building, and in anticipation of the greater role the Museum expects to play on the internationally art front.
In her new role, Donna De Salvo, who has served as the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs since 2006, will help lead the Museum’s efforts to define and communicate an expanded and more complex understanding of American art and artists in contemporary culture globally. In addition to organizing exhibitions, De Salvo will encourage greater visibility for the Whitney through programs, professional exchanges,
and institutional development. De Salvo will also be involved in long-term strategic planning for the institution.
In addition to leading the curatorial team for the Whitney’s inaugural collection display America Is Hard to See, Miss De Salvo has curated Full House: The Whitney’s Collection at 75 (2006) and Robert Irwin: Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1977) (2013). Among the exhibitions she has co-curated are Sinister Pop (2012–13, with Scott Rothkopf), Signs & Symbols (2012, with Jane Panetta), Lawrence Weiner: AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE (2007–08, with Ann Goldstein) and Roni Horn aka Roni Horn (2009–10, with Carter Foster and Mark Godfrey). With Linda Norden, she co-curated Course of Empire: Paintings by Ed Ruscha for the United States Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale, an exhibition that was also presented at the Whitney (2005–06).
Prior to working at the Whitney, De Salvo served for five years as a Senior Curator at Tate Modern, London, where she curated such exhibitions such as Open Systems: Rethinking Art c. 1970 (2005); Marsyas (Anish Kapoor’s 2003 work commissioned by Tate Modern for its Turbine Hall); and Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (2001). Among the exhibitions she has curated at other institutions are Hand-Painted Pop: American Art in Transition, 1955–1962 (MOCA Los Angeles, 1992–93), Staging Surrealism (Wexner Center for the Arts, 1997–98), and A Museum Looks at Itself: Mapping Past and Present at the Parrish Art Museum (Parrish Art Museum, 1992).
From 1981 to 1986, De Salvo was a curator at the Dia Art Foundation, where she worked closely with several of its artists, including John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Donald Judd, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. A noted expert on the work of Warhol, she was Adjunct Curator for the Andy Warhol Museum and was curator of Andy Warhol: Disaster Paintings, 1963 (Dia Art Foundation, 1986), Andy Warhol: Hand-Painted Images, 1960–62 (Dia Art Foundation, 1987), “Success is a Job in New York”: The early art and business of Andy Warhol (Grey Art Gallery, 1989), and a retrospective of the artist’s work at Tate Modern (2002). She is currently developing a thematic retrospective of Warhol’s work to be presented at the Whitney in 2018.
She has written catalogues and essays and lectured on a wide range of modern and contemporary artists, including Barbara Bloom, Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, William Eggleston, Isa Genzken, Robert Gober, Philip Guston, Wade Guyton, Ray Johnson, Anish Kapoor, Per Kirkeby, Barbara Kruger, Giorgio Morandi, Barnett Newman, Chris Ofili, Gerhard Richter, Robert Smithson, Cy Twombly, Mark Wallinger, and Gillian Wearing. A recipient of the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award from the College Art Association, she has participated in many international juries and review panels and has taught at the curatorial studies programs at Bard College and The Royal College of Art.
Donna De Salvo stated, “I am delighted to be entrusted with the responsibilities of this new position to carry forward our work and to further enhance and extend what American art means on a world stage. I believe we have created a framework, both architecturally and programmatically, that provides endless possibilities in future. I am especially excited by the prospect of working together with Scott Rothkopf in his new role and on our expanded mission for the Museum.”
Scott Rothkopf, presently Nancy and Steve Crown Family Curator and Associate Director of Programs, joined the Whitney as Curator in 2009. In his new role, he will oversee the curatorial department and exhibition activities, direct the growth and display of the collection, and shape the Whitney’s programmatic vision. Taking advantage of the Museum’s new and greatly increased indoor and outdoor spaces, he will oversee expanded visual,
performing, and media arts offerings as well as continue to organize exhibitions himself.
Rothkopf most recently served on the curatorial team responsible for the Whitney’s inaugural collection display America Is Hard to See. At the Whitney he has also curated Mary Heilmann: Sunset (2015), Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (2014), Sinister Pop (2012–13, with Donna De Salvo),Wade Guyton OS (2012–13), Glenn Ligon: AMERICA (2011), Singular Visions (2010, with Dana Miller), and Whitney on Site: Guyton\Walker (2010).
Prior to joining the Whitney, Rothkopf served as Senior Editor of Artforum International from 2004 through 2009, where he was a frequent contributor of feature reviews and essays. He began his curatorial career at the Harvard University Art Museums, organizing Mel Bochner: Photographs, 1966–1969 (2002) and Huyghe + Corbusier: Harvard Project (2004, with Linda Norden). He also served as a contributing curator to the Biennale de Lyon in 2007, for a project with Guyton.
Rothkopf has published widely on the work of contemporary artists, including Paul Chan, Diller and Scofidio, Carroll Dunham, Katharina Fritsch, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Josiah McElheny, Takashi Murakami, Laura Owens, Elizabeth Peyton, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Paul Thek, Kelley Walker, T. J. Wilcox, Terry Winters, and Karen Kilimnik, who was the subject of his 2007 book, Period Eye: Karen Kilimnik’s Fancy Pictures, co-authored with Meredith Martin. He also served as editor of Yourself in the World (2011), a volume of the collected writings and interviews of Glenn Ligon.
Rothkopf is a member of the board of trustees of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and has been a visiting critic at Hunter College, Yale University’s School of Art, and the University of Southern California, among many others. He has served on numerous juries, including those of the Deste Foundation and the American Academy in Rome. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in the history of art and architecture from Harvard University.
Rothkopf stated, “The Whitney has long been known as the artists’ museum, a reputation that captures our intimate and profound commitment to artists and their work. In our new home we will further develop our venturesome approach to challenging exhibitions, collection displays, and an innovative performance program, as well as create new connections among them. It is a great honor to be chosen to take this project forward and to expand on the extraordinary accomplishments of Donna De Salvo.”
In announcing the new positions, Weinberg stated, “The Whitney is poised to take on greater challenges and growing its leadership is essential to extending the Museum’s reach. No one is better prepared to take on the important work of redefining the Whitney’s role on the international stage than Donna De Salvo, whose experience, insight, and innovative thinking have been central to our move downtown. As can be seen in the presentation of the Whitney’s collection in our new home, led brilliantly by Donna, we are exploring as never before the layered, nuanced, and changing meanings of the term ‘American art’ within contemporary global culture. In her new role, Donna will build on that experimentation and thinking.
“Scott Rothkopf has brought a singular combination of scholarship, critical acumen, and curatorial talent to the Whitney,” Weinberg continued. “His achievements over the past half-dozen years have been remarkable; his vision, inventiveness, and leadership abilities are manifest. We’re proud to welcome him as our new Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, charged with overseeing all facets of the Museum’s curatorial program. Scott’s enthusiasm, energy, and passion for the Whitney’s mission—with living artists at its core—make him the perfect choice to expand and enrich our curatorial offerings at this historic turning point for the Whitney. We are particularly grateful to our trustee Nancy Crown and her husband Steve for so generously endowing this position.”