Donna De Salvo, pictured in “Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again” at the Whitney.
Photo: Matthew Carasella Photography

Donna De Salvo Leaves the Whitney Museum After 15 Years

De Salvo was instrumental to many remarkable exhibitions, including the blockbuster Andy Warhol retrospective, which closed in March

Donna De Salvo is leaving the Whitney Museum of American Art after 15 years, Adam Weinberg, the museum’s director, announced on Wednesday.

Most recently serving as deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator, De Salvo was instrumental in the execution of dozens of notable exhibitions, including the renowned “Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again.” De Salvo, who is leaving to pursue other interests, worked closely with Warhol at the Dia Art Foundation, becoming an expert in his work. While she remains the consulting curator for the retrospective’s nationwide tour, this will be her final work for the Whitney.

Recommended: The Story Behind the Whitney’s Blockbuster Andy Warhol Retrospective

“I hold a deep regard for the Whitney, which has been my home for one of the most fulfilling periods of my career,” De Salvo said in a statement. “I joined the Whitney to work with Adam Weinberg and his team, to imagine and help realize a new home for the museum, and to expand understanding of what art in the United States is and can be. It has been an enormous privilege to collaborate with extraordinary artists, trustees, and colleagues and to have overseen the curatorial direction of the Whitney during one of the most transformative periods of the institution’s history.”

Installation view of “Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photo: Stefanie Li, © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The many shows De Salvo curated and cocurated during her tenure at the museum include “Open Plan: Steve McQueen” (2015), “Open Plan: Michael Heizer” (2015, with Carol Mancusi-Ungaro), and “Barbara Kruger: On Site” (2010), to name just a few. She helped to acquire the work of numerous artists and became the driving force behind “America Is Hard to See” (2015), the inaugural exhibition of the museum’s Renzo Piano–designed building in the Meatpacking District.

De Salvo wrote dozens of catalogues and essays, and lectured on a variety of modern and contemporary artists like Anish Kapoor, Barbara Kruger, Steve McQueen, Barnett Newman, and Gerhard Richter. She received the Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award from the College Art Association and became the first curator for the American Acquisition Committee (now North American Acquisitions Committee).

Recommended: VIDEO: Take a Look Inside the 2019 Whitney Biennial

In a statement, Weinberg said, “Donna De Salvo has played an indispensable role in helping to set the foundations for the Whitney as it now exists. Her contributions are reflected in the roster of exhibitions that bear the stamp of her unique take on art and culture, major works acquired under her inspired stewardship of the collection, and the artist-centric galleries of the downtown building. We will always be grateful for the extraordinary breadth of knowledge and the keen insights she has brought to this institution, and we wish her the best as she embarks on the next phase of her career.”

Currently, De Salvo sits on the jury for the Sotheby’s Prize, serves on the 2nd Academic Committee of the Power Station for Art in Shanghai, and is a member of the International Biennial Association and CIMAM.

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