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Whitney Museum Deputy Director Donna De Salvo to Step Down

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that Donna De Salvo has resigned from her position of deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator. De Salvo most recently organized the blockbuster exhibition “Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again,” which premiered at the Whitney in November 2018 and is currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Her last day at the institution will be July 1.

Donna De Salvo has played an indispensable role in helping to set the foundations for the Whitney as it now exists,” museum director Adam D. Weinberg said in a statement. “Her contributions are reflected in the roster of exhibitions that bear the stamp of her unique take on art and culture, major works acquired under her inspired stewardship of the collection, and the artist-centric galleries of the downtown building. We will always be grateful for the extraordinary breadth of knowledge and the keen insights she has brought to this institution, and we wish her the best as she embarks on the next phase of her career.”

De Salvo joined the Whitney in 2004 and served as its first chief curator and deputy director for programs from 2006 to 2015, before assuming her present role. During her tenure, she led the curatorial team for “America Is Hard to See” (2015)—the first exhibition to be staged in the Whitney’s new building—and curated numerous shows, including “Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium” (2017) with Lynn Zelevansky, Elisabeth Sussman, and James Rondeau; “Open Plan: Steve McQueen” (2015); “Barbara Kruger: On Site” (2010); and “Lawrence Weiner: AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE” (2007–2008) with Ann Goldstein.

De Salvo also helped acquire works by artists such as Nina Chanel Abney, Lutz Bacher, Lynda Benglis, Carol Bove, Paul Chan, Carroll Dunham, Barkley L. Hendricks, Norman Lewis, Archibald Motley, Senga Nengudi, Laura Owens, Nancy Spero, Hank Willis Thomas, and Anicka Yi, among others. In 2005, she cocurated “Course of Empire: Paintings by Ed Ruscha” for the United States pavilion at the Fifty-First Venice Biennale with Linda Norden. Prior to her tenure at the Whitney, De Salvo worked as a senior curator at Tate Modern, London, and a curator at the Dia Art Foundation, New York.

Commenting on her term at the museum, De Salvo said: “I hold a deep regard for the Whitney, which has been my home for one of the most fulfilling periods of my career. I joined the Whitney to work with Adam Weinberg and his team, to imagine and help realize a new home for the museum, and to expand understanding of what art in the United States is and can be. It has been an enormous privilege to collaborate with extraordinary artists, trustees, and colleagues and to have overseen the curatorial direction of the Whitney during one of the most transformative periods of the institution’s history.”

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