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Kathy Halbreich of MoMA to Lead Rauschenberg Foundation


Kathy Halbreich will be the new executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Peter Ross

Kathy Halbreich’s name has often surfaced over the years as a possible successor to the director of the Museum of Modern Art, Glenn D. Lowry. But Ms. Halbreich points out that she is, in fact, older than Mr. Lowry, that MoMA has a mandatory retirement age and that she has long considered her current job at MoMA — associate director — the best in the business.

Instead, she has decided to leave the museum to head the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in Manhattan as its new executive director, the organization plans to announce on Thursday. In addition to promoting the works of Robert Rauschenberg, who died in 2008, the foundation supports artists in the many fields in which he worked — painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking and performance. (It also runs a residency program in Rauschenberg’s former home on Captiva Island, Fla., but because the house was damaged by Hurricane Irma, the program was postponed this year.)

“It’s a foundation focused on doing the best for artists,” Ms. Halbreich said in a telephone interview. “The more I learned, the more perfect the match felt as my next chapter.”

She previously served for 16 years as director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where her exhibitions focused on artists like Joseph Beuys, Hélio Oiticica and Kara Walker.

Christopher Rauschenberg, the artist’s son and the foundation’s president, said in a statement: “My father’s work was bold, rigorously and relentlessly experimental, and engaged with cultures across the globe.” He added, “Kathy embodies my father’s belief in art as transformational.”

Ms. Halbreich, who starts Nov. 1, succeeds Christy MacLear, who earlier this year joined Sotheby’s to expand the auction house’s advisory services for living artists and for artists’ estates and foundations.

In addition to her work at the foundation, Ms. Halbreich will continue to oversee MoMA’s upcoming Bruce Nauman retrospective through its New York opening next fall and will retain her position as the museum’s adviser to the director during that period.

“I’m an insomniac, so it’s really great to have something to do at 3 a.m.,” she said. “I think this will be an enormously creative year for me.”

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