On the Eve of Triennial, Prospect New Orleans Director Brooke Anderson Resigns

Prospect.4, the upcoming edition of New Orleans’s international art festival, is scheduled to kick off in November 2017, but it will do so without director Brooke Davis Anderson, who has been with the organization for four years. She is resigning effective at the end of the month to become director at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), according to a statement from Prospect.

Anderson will fill a vacancy left by Harry Philbrick, who departed the PAFA over a year ago, at the end of January 2016, to found the Philadelphia Contemporary. He had worked at the museum for nearly five years.

In a statement, Anderson was upbeat about the move, expressing gratitude for having had the “extraordinary opportunity” to lead Prospect. “I have given all of my time and energy to PNO and what I will cherish most about this fulfilling and gratifying experience,” she said, “are the relationships with our devoted board, hardworking staff, countless partners, and numerous supporters in the singular city of New Orleans and beyond.”

Before joining Prospect, Anderson was deputy director of curatorial planning at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From 1999 to 2010, she was director and curator at the Contemporary Center and the Henry Darger Study Center at the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

Ylva Rouse. Courtesy of Craig Mulcahy.

Ylva Rouse. Courtesy of Craig Mulcahy.

In her absence, Anderson’s role will be filled on an interim basis by Ylva Rouse, the organization’s deputy director of curatorial affairs. Earlier this month, the triennial hired Jennifer M. Williams, formerly the executive director and curator at the city’s McKenna Museum of African-American Art, as its deputy director for the public experience. According to Culture Type, Prospect has less than 10 employees.

Prospect.4 has enlisted Trevor Schoonmaker as artistic director, as well as an artistic directors council featuring artists William Cordova, Wangechi Mutu, and Ebony G. Patterson; Miranda Lash of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky; Omar Lopez-Chahoud of Miami’s Untitled art fair; Filipa Oliveira of the Fórum Eugénio de Almeida, Lisbon; and Zoe Whitley of the Tate, London.

Founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, the first edition of Prospect New Orleans opened in November 2008. Initially conceived of as a biennial, Prospect.2 was delayed a year and opened in 2011, and Prospect.3 followed in 2014. Organizers subsequently decided to run the exhibition as a triennial.

Tavares Strachan, You Belong Here (2014), part of "Prospect.3: Notes for Now," a project of Prospect New Orleans. Photo: © Vincent Gray.

Tavares Strachan, You Belong Here (2014), part of “Prospect.3: Notes for Now,” a project of Prospect New Orleans. Courtesy of Vincent Gray.

For 2017, the triennial will bring work by some 70 artists to sites all over New Orleans. Schoonmaker, the chief curator of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has promised an increased focus on Latin American, Caribbean, and African artists. Additional details are expected in May.

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