Late yesterday (February 20) the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (ACAC) announced that Stuart Horodner, artistic director since 2008, is stepping down to become director at the Art Museum of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. His last day will be June 6; he assumes his new post on July 9.
In a press statement, Horodner said: “It is always challenging to leave a great institution and colleagues that you cherish. I am extremely proud of all the projects we have developed at ACAC during the past several years. The Atlanta arts community has been very supportive of me and my efforts, and I thank them sincerely.”
Board president Tim Schrager said: “We will begin the search for a new curator immediately, for which details will soon be released separately.” At this writing, it is unclear whether the artistic director position will become a curatorial role, and how those responsibilities might differ from Horodner’s.
In a statement from the university, Horodner cited the opportunity “to oversee exhibition strategies and collection-building, and work with various staff and stakeholders to deliver ambitious educational programs and collaborative endeavors.”
The blog Copious Notes obtained notes from the UK museum that said Horodner wants to “grow the Museum and make it attractive to all stakeholders … by drawing regional and national exhibitions,” and he “wants to be a ‘cheerleader’ for local and regional talent. Sees the museum originating exhibitions of local and regional artists that can travel around the country, therefore raising awareness for area artists as well The Museum.”
As reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader, retiring director Kathy Walsh-Piper told UK administrators that the museum, “which is housed in a back corner of the Singletary Center for the Arts,” needs a new location, a task Horodner is well-suited for. He joins the UK museum after overseeing the ACAC’s renovation project and a $620,000 fund-raising campaign.
Horodner beat out other candidates Timothy Close, former director and CEO of the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, and Julien Robson, who was the contemporary art curator from 2000 to 2008 at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY.
In the mid-1990s, he ran Horodner Romley Gallery in New York, and went on to become director of the Bucknell University Art Gallery in Lewisburg, Pa., and curator at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. In Portland, he also founded the punningly titled “intimate” art fair Affair at the Jupiter Hotel, which ran from 2004 to ’07.
At the ACAC, he has curated most if not all the exhibitions, which have featured numerous prominent artists (but not always their best work). He has chaired panel discussions on such topics as professional practices for artists and implemented programs like “15 Minutes,” for which artist members could have a one-on-one critique with him.
Unlike the ACAC, the University of Kentucky Museum has a permanent collection of about 4,500 objects ranging from old masters through the 20th century. Horodner will be responsible for organizing special exhibitions as well as shows of works from the collection.