Douglas Dreishpoon, who as chief curator organized widely acclaimed exhibitions at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and helped enhance the museum’s national profile, is reducing his role at the institution.
After 16 years, Dreishpoon will move to the newly created position of chief curator emeritus at the end of the month, while continuing to advise on exhibitions and acquisitions and serve on curatorial committees.
“I am delighted at this point in my career to be able to focus on my passions: writing, research, collections development and organizing exhibitions,” Dreishpoon said. “The Albright-Knox’s world-class collection has been like manna to my art-historical soul, and continued access to it through exhibitions and publications is a great privilege,” Dreishpoon said.
“At the same time, I look forward to working on other projects beyond the museum, particularly several writing projects that have been on hold.”
Dreishpoon, who will maintain at least two office days a month, is also a jazz drummer who performs frequently in local clubs. He said he hopes to be able to spend more time on his music.
He said he also looks forward to remaining involved at the gallery and providing continuity for his department and for the gallery.
“Doug’s intellectual contribution to the development of the AK’s internationally renowned collection over the past 16 years is extraordinary,” said Janne Siren, the gallery’s director. “He has played a key role in identifying hundreds of masterpieces that now are a part of one of the finest ensembles of modern and contemporary art in the world.
“At the same time, he has worked in close collaboration with artists and curators from all over the world to create inspiring exhibitions. Doug is a star, and we at the AK are very fortunate that he will remain a key member of our curatorial team.”
Dreishpoon, who began work at the gallery in 1998, also worked under directors Douglas G. Schultz and Louis Grachos.
“Doug brought a lot of thoughtful analysis and critique to everything he did. He is the ideal art historian/curator, and really understood our collection,” Grachos said from Austin, Texas, where he now works. “He writes like a dream and articulates so brilliantly, including an ability to apply it to contemporary art and contemporary culture. Another skill he has – which almost no one in his field ever lives up to – is an ability to moderate a panel. He’s kind of a master at it.”
Dreishpoon’s first breakout exhibition, “The Tumultuous Fifties: A View From the New York Times Photo Archives” (2002), was co-curated with Alan Trachtenberg.
Among the historical and contemporary exhibitions that followed were “Edwin Dickinson: Dreams and Realities” (2002), “Petah Coyne: Above and Beneath the Skin” (2005), “Robert Mangold: Beyond the Line, Paintings and Project, 2000-2008” (2009), “Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008” (2010) and “Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper, 1962-2010” (2013).
Dreishpoon also curated “The Long Curve: 150 Years of Visionary Collecting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery” (2011), currently on national tour; and co-curated “DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002-2012” (2012), which highlighted recent acquisitions.