Has lived in Austria, El Salvador, England, Gabon, India, Italy, Lebanon, Switzerland, the US, and Venezuela.
  • Henry Art Gallery
  • Has lived in Austria, El Salvador, England, Gabon, India, Italy, Lebanon, Switzerland, the US, and Venezuela. (Dig the tie.)
His name is Luis Croquer, and I haven't talked to him yet, but on paper, he's a dream.

His most recent job was as the inaugural director and chief curator for the ambitious—critics repeatedly called it "adventurous"—MOCA Detroit, which opened five years ago, and which Croquer gave "200 percent of my life" until he announced he was leaving this past fall. He said he wanted to focus more on working with artists, less on managing staff. (It's an industry dilemma.)

Enter the Henry, where he'll start work March 13. His position is a new one for the museum, which until now operated with a chief curator. Liz Brown held that role for several years.

Croquer's background: Before MOCAD, he was special projects assistant to the director at the Museo del Barrio in New York; he was senior curator at the American Federation of Arts in New York; and he was curator of historical exhibitions at the Drawing Center in New York.

He was born in El Salvador and has lived all over the world. He studied anthropology and communications as an undergraduate at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and earned his master's degree in modern and contemporary art history, theory, and criticism at the State University of New York at Purchase. He's been the recipient of Fulbright, Hilla Rebay International, and Warhol Foundation fellowships.

Croquer's arrival will be the latest in a string of changes at Seattle museums. Seattle Art Museum is still seeking a director. The Frye recently lost terrific chief curator Robin Held and has not yet announced whether it will replace her. Catharina Manchanda joined SAM as its modern and contemporary curator in August.

The full press release is on the jump.

This post has been updated since its original publication.

Sylvia Wolf, Director of the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, announced today that Luis Croquer has been appointed to the position of Deputy Director of Art and Education, concluding a comprehensive international search. Croquer was formerly Director and Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit. He plans to assume his responsibilities March 13, 2012.

The Deputy Director of Art and Education (DDAE) is a new position at the Henry, designed to provide strategic leadership, oversight, and management of integrated exhibition, collection, and education initiatives. The DDAE is a curator first and foremost, partnering with the Henry Director and curatorial team on developing the artistic direction for the Henry. In addition, the DDAE will support institution-wide efforts to promote and identify funding sources for Henry exhibitions, publications, and education programs as the Henry embarks on a major fundraising campaign.

“Luis is the perfect creative partner to join in shaping the future of the Henry at this crucial time in our history,” said Wolf. “As we celebrate our 85th anniversary as the region’s sole museum devoted to contemporary art, Luis brings a global perspective, a keen and discerning eye for the new, and an independence of mind that have earned him the respect of colleagues worldwide. He also brings a deep understanding of museum practice and is gifted in collaborating with artists and peer institutions. I look forward to working with Luis on advancing the Henry as an internationally recognized platform for the discovery and experience of contemporary art, artists, and ideas.”
Henry Board Chair, Bill True, adds “I am delighted that Luis is joining the Henry as the Deputy Director of Art and Education. His unique combination of curatorial expertise, knowledge of the international art scene, and managerial experience will advance and serve both the Henry Art Gallery and the Seattle art community.”
Croquer remarks "It is with genuine pleasure and great enthusiasm that I join the team at the Henry Art Gallery. As the oldest art museum in Washington State, the Henry has a distinguished and long history of strong commitment to contemporary art. That combination of rethinking the past and contextualizing the contemporary perfectly matches my desire to explore in depth the role of art, collections and programs in the 21st century. I am very eager to contribute to this new and very important phase in the Henry’s life under Sylvia’s leadership, and to support her exciting vision for the museum. I am also thrilled to be moving to Seattle, a place long recognized as a hotbed of innovation and progressive thinking.”
As Director and Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, Croquer provided artistic direction of exhibitions and public programs, and oversaw activities in education, development and external relations. During his three-year tenure, he established for MOCAD an international reputation for presenting cutting edge contemporary art. He also developed a regional following through innovative community outreach, and he secured significant foundation grants to support MOCAD activities.

Anne Pasternak, Director of Creative Time, New York, remarks, "Over the years, I have watched Luis's work with enthusiasm, often traveling to MOCAD to view his exhibitions, and have been wowed by his global artistic reach and his capacity to build support for the organization. Luis has a rich mix of talents: intellectual rigor, a deep and thoughtful approach to contemporary culture, a broad global perspective, and the capacity to engage audiences of all levels of interest and sophistication in contemporary art."

Prior to MOCAD, Croquer was Special Projects Assistant to the Director at the Museo del Barrio, New York, where he laid the foundation for a program of traveling exhibitions and national and international collaborations. As Senior Curator at the American Federation of Arts, New York, he initiated and led the reshaping of the AFA’s exhibition program, and negotiated and oversaw curatorial exchanges with The Louvre, and Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, among other international venues. As Curator of Historical Exhibitions at the Drawing Center, New York, Croquer researched, programmed and implemented the Center’s historical exhibitions program.

Artists Croquer has worked with include William Anastasi, Edgar Arceneaux, Katinka Bock, Martha Friedman, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Jef Geys, and Jesper Just. Recent projects include Spatial City: An Architecture of Idealism, the first exhibition in the US of work drawn from the French Regional Contemporary Art collections, developed and co-curated in collaboration with the FRAC, INOVA, Milwaukee and the Hyde Park Center, Chicago. He also curated LifeStories, featuring Pina Bausch, Patricia Esquivias, Simryn Gill, Peter Lemmens, Jàn Mančuška, and Rachel Mason; and barely there I & II, an exhibition in two parts featuring Francis Alÿs, Marcel Broodthaers, James Lee Byars, Luis Camnitzer, Frank Capra, Jason Dodge, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Pablo Helguera, Paul Ramírez-Jonas, Christoph Keller, Kimsooja, Mark Lombardi , Lee Lozano, Christian Marclay, Rivane & Sergio Neuenschwander, Max Ophüls, Wilfredo Prieto, Yvonne Rainer, Ranjani Shettar, Pascal Marthine Tayou, Felix González-Torres, Nicolás García Uriburu, Franz Erhard Walther, Francesca Woodman and Adolf Wölfli.

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Croquer was born in El Salvador and has lived in Austria, El Salvador, England, Gabon, India, Italy, Lebanon, Switzerland, the US, and Venezuela, in addition to traveling extensively in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He has a BA in Anthropology and Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History, Theory and Criticism from the State University of New York at Purchase. Croquer has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship; the Hilla Rebay International Fellowship by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

About the Henry Art Gallery

Since its founding in 1927, the Henry Art Gallery has served the Pacific Northwest as a pioneer in bringing contemporary art and ideas to the region. The Henry is a hub for audiences of all ages to experience the discovery, wonder, and surprise that contemporary art, artists, and ideas provide. The Henry staff, board, and community are committed to taking risks, and fostering dialogue and debate. Exhibitions, collections, and public programs at the Henry stimulate research and teaching at the University of Washington, provide a creative wellspring for artists, students, and educators, and reveal a record of modern artistic inquiry from the advent of photography in the mid-19th century to the multidisciplinary art and design of the 21st century.