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Nicola Lees. Courtesy of the Aspen Art Museum.
Nicola Lees. Courtesy of the Aspen Art Museum.

Aspen Art Museum Names Nicola Lees Director

The Aspen Art Museum (AAM) in Colorado announced today that Nicola Lees has been appointed its next director. Lees, who will be responsible for overseeing all programmatic and financial operations, comes to the institution from New York University’s admission-free contemporary-art space 80 Washington Square East Gallery (80WSE), where she has served as director and curator since 2016. Her tenure at the museum will begin on April 6.

“Nicola is an energetic, innovative, and visionary institutional leader and her knowledge of, and passion for, contemporary art is evident through a host of ambitious and globally relevant large-scale exhibitions and projects featuring many of the most important established and emerging artists of our time,” John Phelan, chair of AAM’s board’s executive committee, and Amnon Rodan and Paul Pariser, board copresidents, said in a statement. “Nicola shares both the strategic vision and values that guide our mission, and we are confident in her abilities to provide our diverse audience with valuable experiences of the most important international contemporary arts programming today.”

Prior to joining New York University, Lees was head of the Frieze Foundation from 2013 to 2015 and curated Frieze Projects London, mounting over forty large-scale, site-specific artist commissions in installation, film, and music, by artists such as Sophia Al Maria, Charles Atlas, Meredith Monk, and Cerith Wyn Evans. In 2015, Lees served as curator of the sixtieth-anniversary edition of the Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and, from 2008 to 2013, she was a senior curator at the Serpentine Gallery in London, where she commissioned new works for presentation in the annual Serpentine Pavilion, including the Serpentine Gallery Marathon series, the Park Nights series, and the Serpentine Cinema series.

Commenting on her new role, Lees said: “I’m very excited to begin this new chapter of the Aspen Art Museum’s history. . . . The Aspen Art Museum’s spectacular location, extraordinary architecture, and its flexible model for the commissioning of artworks and contemporary art exhibitions create incredible opportunities for both artists and our audiences.”