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Aspen Art Museum names Nicola Lees as new Nancy and Bob Magoon Director
Prior to joining the AAM Nicola was the Director and Curator of New York University’s admission-free, non-profit, contemporary art space 80 Washington Square East Gallery (80WSE), where she served from 2016. Her previous experience includes tenures as Curator at Frieze Foundation (2013–’15), Senior Curator of Public Programs at London’s Serpentine Gallery (2008–’13), and Assistant Curator of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) from 2006–’08. Image courtesy AAM.



ASPEN, CO.- Today, the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Art Museum announced the appointment of Nicola Lees as incoming Nancy and Bob Magoon Director. Lees will oversee every facet of the museum’s programmatic and financial operations beginning April 6, 2020.

Prior to joining the AAM Nicola was the Director and Curator of New York University’s admission-free, non-profit, contemporary art space 80 Washington Square East Gallery (80WSE), where she served from 2016. Her previous experience includes tenures as Curator at Frieze Foundation (2013–’15), Senior Curator of Public Programs at London’s Serpentine Gallery (2008–’13), and Assistant Curator of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) from 2006–’08.

John Phelan, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Art Museum, and Amnon Rodan and Paul Pariser, Co-Presidents of the Board of Trustees: “The Board of Trustees of the Aspen Art Museum is thrilled to announce Nicola Lees as our new Nancy and Bob Magoon Director. Nicola is an energetic, innovative, and visionary institutional leader and her knowledge of, and passion for, contemporary art is evident through a host of ambitious and globally relevant large-scale exhibitions and projects featuring many of the most important established and emerging artists of our time. Her curatorial acumen is only equaled by her exemplary reputation, among her colleagues and peers, as one of the field’s most knowledgeable experts, and consummate and admired professionals. Throughout the selection process, the AAM Search Committee remained impressed and moved by Nicola’s energy, excitement, and enthusiasm for our institution and its goals. Nicola shares both the strategic vision and values that guide our mission, and we are confident in her abilities to provide our diverse audience with valuable experiences of the most important international contemporary arts programming today. The Board would like to congratulate AAM staff for its leadership in overseeing operations throughout this transition. The Executive Committee, our Board of Trustees, and National Council want to thank the Search Committee for all of their hard work, and look forward to working alongside Nicola to continue the work that makes the Aspen Art Museum one of the world’s leading institutions for global contemporary art.”

Nicola Lees, incoming Nancy and Bob Magoon Director: “I’m very excited to begin this new chapter of the Aspen Art Museum’s history. I look forward to working closely with the Board of Trustees, the team at the Museum, and Aspen’s Roaring Fork Valley communities to bring the Aspen Art Museum to its next exciting stage of development.

The Aspen Art Museum’s spectacular location, extraordinary architecture, and its flexible model for the commissioning of artworks and contemporary art exhibitions create incredible opportunities for both artists and our audiences.

The institution’s artist-centered focus allows a diverse range of practitioners the freedom, flexibility, and depth of focus required to develop ambitious and challenging new work and facilitates the development of dynamic communities around contemporary art.”

Nicola Lees is outgoing Director and Curator of 80 Washington Square East Gallery (80WSE), a non-profit exhibition space for contemporary art at New York University. 80WSE supports flexible, long-term engagements with artists, with a programmatic focus on intergenerational exchange, and artists whose complex practices have stood outside dominant narratives around contemporary art. Recent exhibitions include those with artists Duane Linklater, Lyle Ashton Harris, Lutz Bacher, Damien Davis, Diamond Stingily, Queer Thoughts, John Giorno, Harun Farocki, Peter Gidal, 13BC, Jason Hirata, Louise Lawler, Dora Budor, Karthik Pandian, Andros Zins-Browne, Zakaria Almoutlak, and Patricia L. Boyd. While at 80WSE, Lees also worked with Pablo León de la Barra on a group exhibition looking at the history of the Nicaraguan Revolution, through an examination of the artists’ colony of Solentiname, which traveled to the Museo Jumex, Mexico City, in 2018. As leader of the Frieze Foundation, Lees curated Frieze Projects London, mounting over 40 large-scale, site-specific artist commissions in installation, film, and music, by artists including Meredith Monk, Sophia Al Maria, Cerith Wyn Evans, Isabel Lewis, Charles Atlas, and Nick Mauss with Juliana Huxtable and Kim Gordon. In 2015, Lees served as curator of the 60th-anniversary edition of the Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia, presenting an exhibition that took an expansive, intergenerational, and non-hierarchical view at the history of mark-making within the region. As Senior Curator at the Serpentine Gallery (London), Lees oversaw all interdisciplinary, time-based, and performance projects. She commissioned numerous new works for presentation in the annual Serpentine Pavilion, including the celebrated Serpentine Gallery Marathon series (co-curated with Hans Ulrich Obrist), the Park Nights series, and the Serpentine Cinema series. While at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) Lees worked on key exhibitions by Alex Katz, Mirosław Bałka, Iran do Espirito Santo, Ulla von Brandenburg, Georgia O’Keeffe, Nalini Malani, and Philippe Parreno, as well as Alexander Calder and Joan Miró.










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