Wednesday, April 28, 2010
High Museum’s new curator of modern and contemporary art, Michael Rooks
Earlier this year, Michael Rooks became the High Museum in Atlanta’s new curator of modern and contemporary art. The Illinois native previously worked as the chief curator and director of exhibitions and artist relations at Haunch of Venison (the Christie’s gallery in New York), as curator at the Contemporary Museum Honolulu and as curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Rooks’ responsibilities at the High will include working on the museum’s multi-year collaboration with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and co-organizing a contemporary art exhibition to be drawn from MOMA’s collection. More important, Rooks will work to mend the museum’s frayed relationship with the contemporary art community. Rooks says he plans to work with local artists, teachers and collectors to build excitement in the community.
His first day on the job, Rooks met with art consultant Mary Stanley and then spoke at a meeting of her Young Collectors’ club attended by local collectors, artists and art advocates. Rooks spent hours talking and listening to artists at the meeting.
Rooks is known for putting on exhibitions the public can relate to. While working in Chicago, he organized the exhibition “Like War, What is it Good For” about the Iraq war, which mixed works by local artists and national figures.
Rooks plans to spend his first six months at the High Museum getting to know his way around before starting on larger projects, although he has already begun making acquisitions.
Those working with Rooks are impressed. “I think he will be able to ignite excitement and get more people involved,” says collector Sara Schlesinger.
Posted by Ashley James at 2:31 PM