The Parrish Art Museum has announced that Kelly Taxter will serve as its new director. Taxter, whose career spans curating art galleries and museums, assumes the position on March 22.
“I am honored to have been selected as the next director of the Parrish Art Museum,” said Taxter in a statement. “It is a great privilege to lead the institution at this critical moment of change. I look forward to joining the Parrish board and team in welcoming visitors from all backgrounds to our unparalleled building, and sharing exhibitions and collection presentations that reflect not only the artistic history of the East End, but also the bright future of the Museum.”
Parrish Board of Trustees President and Co-Chair Mary Frank said in a statement, “We look forward to her bold vision, her strong leadership and to turning the page to a new and exciting chapter in the history of the Parrish Art Museum. Kelly will benefit from the legacy of the strong directors she succeeds and whose contributions laid the foundation for the Museum’s next phase of excellence.”
Dan’s Papers spoke with Taxter about her background, what excited her about the Parrish Art Museum and more.
How did the Parrish position come about?
I was recommended to the search firm and over a series of months and conversations our relationship evolved.
Talk about your history as a museum curator and art gallerist.
I received my MA in 2003 from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, intending to go into museum work; however, I found that there weren’t any jobs in New York City, where I was committed to living. So, directly after graduating I opened my gallery Taxter & Spengemann with Pascal Spengemann in the front room of my apartment on West 22nd Street between 10th and 11th avenues in Chelsea. Over our nine-year run we moved and expanded four times, as well as evolved the scope of our program. When the gallery closed, I was ready to step away from the demands of commercial galleries and finally meet the challenges of institutional work. I was independent from 2011-2013, organized several projects and a publication, and eventually landed at the Jewish Museum.
What excites you most about working at the Parrish Art Museum?
The Parrish has everything in place—an incredible building, grounds, collection, staff and board, and audience—to be a world class institution in a world class destination.
What are some of your favorite career accomplishments so far?
Every step in my varied career has been meaningful and lead me to this point. Most of all, I love to work with artists. There is nothing more intriguing or satisfying to me than getting inside someone’s head and helping them articulate why they do what they do and what we can learn from it. Being able to present an artist’s work and vision is a privilege, a challenge, and great pleasure.
How do you plan to go provide Hamptonites with year-round arts and enrichment?
The Parrish has been and will continue to be a cultural and educational center on the East End. I will work to ensure that everyone who lives in the community and beyond feels welcomed by the Museum and sees themselves reflected in the work we do and the stories we tell.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
I’m thrilled to begin my post and I am so looking forward to seeing everyone at the museum!
To learn more about the Parrish Art Museum, visit parrishart.org.