The Walker's Executive Director Is Stepping Down

Olga Viso executive director of the Walker Arts Center for 10 years will step down from her position at the end of the year after an announcement by the Board of Trustees on Tuesday Nov. 14 2017

The Walker's Executive Director Is Stepping Down

She began as executive director 10 years ago.

The museum made the announcement Tuesday, saying that Viso will leave her post by the end of the year.

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No reason was given for her departure, which comes months after the "Scaffold" controversy and the completion of a years-long renovation project.

The board wil hire a search committee to hire and new executive director.

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Viso has been with the Walker for a decade. She headed a $75 million fundraising effort that brought a re-design to the museum's campus, including the newly renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

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 worldwide Pop art, and a version of a traveling Jack Whitten retrospective. The sculpture was erected as part of the garden remodel. Sam Durant's sculpture Scaffold, a playground-like piece representing the largest mass execution (38 Dakota men) in USA history, drew protests from the community. Eventually the Walker relented and removed the sculpture.

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In addition to two rounds of layoffs, Viso's tenure was marked by the departure of a number of top staff members, including former chief curator Darsie Alexander, who now heads the Katonah Museum of Art in NY; former senior curator Andrew Blauvelt, now director of the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan; Eric Crosby, who was an associate curator when he left for Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Art; and former assistant curator Bart Ryan, who took a post as Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Andy Warhol Museum, also located in Pittsburgh. "Adios Utopia", now on display at the museum, features art from Cuba. In a statement, the Walker said its board and Viso "agreed that now is an ideal time for a transition".

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