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This evening the Brooklyn Museum revealed that Anne Pasternak will succeed Arnold Lehman as the institution’s director. Pasternak has been the president and artistic director of Creative Time, the nonprofit known for presenting major art commissions in unconventional spaces, since 1994.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to follow in the footsteps of Arnold Lehman, a trailblazing director who has led the Brooklyn Museum to prominence with ambitious programming, an ethos of inclusion, and a great love of the Museum’s permanent collections,” she said in a statement. “With a distinguished history, an experienced leadership team, a forward-thinking staff, and a bold mission, the Museum is extremely well positioned to go even further as a place for great art, learning, and civic vibrancy — in Brooklyn and beyond.”
In her 21 years as the leader of Creative Time, Pasternak has overseen projects all over New York City, including in the anchorage of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Battery Maritime Building, Grand Central Terminal, the skies above Manhattan, and, more recently, the former Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg — which she referred to as “the last site on my list” in a 2013 interview with Paper. She also extended the organization’s reach beyond New York with projects like Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot, which was staged as part of the 2007 Prospect.1 biennial in New Orleans. Creative Time’s most iconic production under Pasternak’s tenure may be Julian Laverdiere and Paul Myoda’s “Tribute in Light,” which made its debut in Lower Manhattan six months after the 9/11 attacks.
“I am proud of the programming we did in response to 9/11, from ‘Tribute in Light’ to our poster projects with artists like Hans Haacke, who is also a hero of mine,” Pasternak told Gothamist in a 2005 interview. “But there have also been profoundly negative effects … Personally, I think our culture is much more nervous and fearful of just about everything. The kind of renegade, anything is possible, let’s just do it attitude has become much more difficult to maintain.”
As the Brooklyn Museum’s announcement of Pasternak’s selection eagerly points out, she joins an all-female leadership team at the institution. The chair, president, and vice chair of the museum’s board of trustees are all women — Elizabeth A. Sackler, Stephanie Ingrassia, and, Barbara Knowles Debs, respectively. They are all well known to Pasternak, who has overseen several Creative Time collaborations with the Brooklyn Museum, most recently Suzanne Lacy’s “Between the Door and the Street” in 2013.
“They say you’re not supposed to be in your job for more than ten years or you’re a ‘loser,’” Pasternak told the Standard Culture two years ago, “and I remember when I was approaching my ninth year at Creative Time a lot of my friends who run major cultural institutions said, ‘You gotta leave, you gotta go do the next thing.’” Pasternak’s first day at her next big thing is September 1.
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