David Breslin and Jane Panetta. Photo: Scott Rudd.

Whitney Museum Promotes Curators David Breslin and Jane Panetta

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that two of its curators are receiving promotions. David Breslin will become the institution’s first director of curatorial initiatives, and Jane Panetta, who curated this year’s Whitney Biennial with Rujeko Hockley, will succeed him as director of the collection. “David and Jane truly exemplify the best of the Whitney’s spirit in their generous dedication to artists and our community,” said Scott Rothkopf, the museum’s senior deputy director and chief curator.

Since Breslin joined the Whitney in 2016 as curator and director of the collection, he has curated a series of exhibitions showcasing the museum’s permanent collection, including “An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017” (2017–18) as well as “Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s” and “The Whitney’s Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965,” both of which are currently on view. In 2018, he cocurated the landmark retrospective “David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night” with David Kiehl.

In his new role, Breslin will work closely with Rothkopf on overseeing the Whitney’s exhibition program. Collaborating with departments across the museum, he will develop curatorial initiatives that further the Whitney’s broader artistic vision, such as the institution’s Indigenous Artists Working Group. Commenting on his new responsibilities, Breslin said: “I’m thrilled to take on this new opportunity, amplifying the ideas, approaches, and passions of the Whitney’s incredible curatorial team. The Whitney’s mission always has been to foster the work of artists. The initiatives we take on embrace that history while preparing for a future that reflects the dynamic and changing contours of American art and culture.”

Currently an associate curator at the museum, Panetta first came to the Whitney nine years ago. During her tenure, she curated “Fast Forward: Paintings from the 1980s” (2017) as well as solo projects with Juan Antonio Olivares and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, among others, and worked on the curatorial team for the Whitney’s inaugural exhibition in its new location downtown, “America Is Hard to See” (2015). Among her new responsibilities will be to formulate a long-term strategic plan for the Whitney’s collection, a task that she will work on with Kim Conaty, curator of drawings and prints, and that will launch this fall.