The Phoenix Art Museum and its Director Amada Cruz, who resigned last year as executive director of San Antonio’s Artpace after two years, announced yesterday the hiring of Gilbert Vicario as its new chief curator, a position the museum hasn’t had in more than a decade.
The Arizona Republic reports that more than a dozen employees have left the Phoenix Art Museum since Cruz took over in February, some of whom were terminated and some who quit under “acrimonious” circumstances.
Cruz, who stepped into the position held by Jim Ballinger for 32 years, said of the high turnover: “This is not something unanticipated. It’s not that I wanted people to leave, believe me. But 32 years of leadership at a museum is rare, so we already had an unusual situation where people literally grew up with Jim. When you have this sort of dramatic change, it’s not unanticipated, and it’s not unusual.”
Vicario was assistant curator of Latin American and Latino Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for five years until 2009, when he took a job as senior curator at the Des Moines Art Center. Let’s see if Cruz and Vicario can bring some of the famous Texan conviviality to Arizona.