Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lafo resigns from DeCordova

Rachel Rosenfield Lafo, director of curatorial affairs at the DeCordova Museum, is resigning after working at the Lincoln institution for nearly 25 years, the museum announced today.

“I have decided to leave DeCordova because I realize that the board and new director seek a different creative direction for the museum,” Lafo said in a press release put out by the museum. “After nearly twenty-five fulfilling years of leading the curatorial program at DeCordova it is time to move on to new challenges.”

Lafo will continue working at the museum on a reduced schedule through Nov. 1, and then plans to pursue independent curatorial and writing projects.

The staff change is not unexpected, as the DeCordova board’s decision to hire an outsider, Dennis Kois, as its new director in March was also a rejection of its insiders. And Kois has talked about shifting the museum’s curatorial programming, including the DeCordova Annual, an exhibition series Lafo founded in 1989. “It’s a nice program but who is it really helping, what’s it doing for the museum?” Kois told me in June. “I think we need to look at that. I’d much rather see it be a stronger show and be a biennial or even a triennial than a weaker show that’s an annual.”

During Lafo’s time at the museum, the press release said, “the museum expanded its exhibition program, publications, and loans to the sculpture park, raising the visibility of DeCordova as one of the primary contemporary art institutions in New England.”

“Rachel has been a valuable member of the DeCordova community for many years,” Kois, who began working at the museum on June 2, said in the release. “Her intellect and professionalism have helped build DeCordova into the nationally recognized institution that it is today. I join the Board and staff in wishing her well in her new curatorial and scholarly pursuits.”

With Lafo’s departure, curator Nick Capasso will temporarily lead the curatorial department. (He served as acting director before Kois was hired.) The museum reports that it does not plan to immediately seek Lafo’s replacement, but instead first to do some long-range curatorial planning.


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