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Valerie Hillings to Lead the North Carolina Museum of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh has named Valerie Hillings as its next director. Hillings joins the institution from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she currently works as a curator and the associate director of curatorial affairs for the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum, which has been in development for over a decade. She will succeed Larry Wheeler, who is retiring after twenty-four years at the helm of the institution, and will take up the post on November 1.

“We are excited about the appointment of Dr. Hillings as director of the North Carolina Museum of Art,” said Ann Goodnight, a member of the museum’s board of directors and chair of the search committee. “As an accomplished curator with international experience, Valerie has a proven record for building collections and organizing outstanding exhibitions. She will bring fresh ideas about expanding the cultural impact of the arts in North Carolina and beyond.”

During Hillings’s fourteen-year tenure at the Guggenheim, she has curated more than fifteen exhibitions on four continents, including “RUSSIA!” (2005–2006), “Picturing America: Photorealism in the 1970s” (2009), “ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s” (2014), and “The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence” (2017). She has also collaborated with artists such as El Anatsui, Angela Bulloch, Hanne Darboven, Marina Abramović, Susan Hefuna, and Günther Uecker on commissions, exhibitions, and public programs. In 2009, Hillings joined the Guggenheim’s dedicated Abu Dhabi project staff, which is tasked with planning for the Guggenheim’s new outpost in the United Arab Emirates. She was responsible for overseeing a team of curators as they developed a strategy for originating the museum’s collection.

A Duke University graduate, Hillings said: “I am delighted to return to North Carolina to work with the board and staff of the NCMA, its donors and membership, to build on the strong foundations laid by Larry Wheeler. North Carolina was the first state in the nation to use public funds to buy art, and its collection is a treasure to be shared with all North Carolinians, visitors to the state, and audiences reached through traveling exhibitions, publications, and digital outreach.”