CLAUDIA Gould, executive director of Artists Space, a Manhattan-based arts organization and exhibition space, has been named the new director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. She starts September 7, succeeding Patrick T. Murphy, who announced last fall that he was returning to his native Dublin as director of exhibitions for the Royal Hibernian Academy after almost nine years at the helm of the ICA.
In her five years at Artists Space, which helps emerging artists both financially and by providing new programs, the 42-year-old Gould is credited with reviving the organization, eliminating its deficit and increasing its funding base. Her financial-management skills should serve her well at the ICA, which has been told by Penn that its red ink must turn black. Dr. Robert Barchi Gr’72 M’73, the provost, hailed Gould’s “unique blend of creative and management expertise,” as well as her “keen insight and deep background into the contemporary art scene.” Gould was recommended to Barchi and Penn President Judith Rodin by a search committee comprised of three representatives from the ICA and another three from the University, aided by Management Consultants for the Arts, a professional search firm.
“The ICA will be a completely different situation than at Artists Space,” acknowledges Gould, noting that she hopes to build on the ICA’s reputation for discovering promising young artists–past finds have included Andy Warhol, Sally Mann, Robert Mapplethorpe and Laurie Anderson, all of whom had exhibitions at the ICA early in their careers. One of the ICA’s greatest strengths, she says, is its exhibition program, though she believes that some of the recent exhibitions have been too long, and she wants to “carve out some sort of project space and have shows that will change more drastically.” She explains that shorter exhibitions, similar to the old Investigations series at the museum, may prompt more people to return.
While she admits that she is not yet acquainted with local artists, Gould says she intends to exhibit the work of many young Philadelphia artists. (She plans to introduce two ongoing series–”Open Video Calls” and “Open Slide Shows”–which will informally display “about the first six minutes of a show in order to get a feel for the artist’s work.”) But she is also looking forward to bringing in outside talent, such as New York artists Justine Kurlend, Bryan Crockett and Kristin Lucas, with whom she worked at Artists Space.
Noting that the “integrating of the ICA into the University is not very good,” Gould–who says she is “very interested in architecture and design”–hopes to give the ICA a “clearer visual identity” to enhance its perception by the Penn community and the local arts community. The visual changes will include everything from a new logo and graphic design to banners hanging in front of the building.
Gould, who has a bachelor’s degree in art history from Boston College and a master’s in museum studies from New York University, expects her plans to take full effect by the year 2000, but she recognizes that “this is going to be a long-term job for anyone.” And, she adds, “It looks like I’ll be juggling many things at once.”