The Contemporary Austin announced today that it has filled two senior positions.
Alex Klein has been named the museum’s head curator and director of curatorial affairs, and Danny Orendorff as its senior director of programs and engagement.
Klein recently served as senior curator at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Orendorff has served as the executive director of Vox Populi, a non-profit gallery, performance venue, and artist collective in Philadelphia. Both will assume their new positions before the end of the calendar year.
“I am thrilled to welcome Alex Klein and Danny Orendorff to The Contemporary Austin,” said sharon maidenberg, the museum’s executive director and CEO. “Both bring tremendous experience in the field, and reflect our organizational commitment to centering art AND audiences in our work. Alex and Danny are both creative thinkers who can serve as the next generation of leaders at The Contemporary Austin, and will undoubtedly contribute to the growth and evolution of Austin’s arts community.”
The Contemporary’s senior level creative positions have been open for more than a year. Andrea Mellard, longtime director of public programs resigned in June 2021. Chief curator Heather Pesanti resigned in July 2021.
Since joining ICA in 2011 Klein’s curatorial practice has centered on creative dialogue and collaboration, and resulted in the development of more than 20 exhibitions featuring a global network of contemporary artists, including Michelle Lopez, Nathalie Du Pasquier, Sondra Perry, Alex Da Corte, Trevor Shimizu, Tamara Henderson, Tony Cokes, Suki Seokyeong Kang, Barbara Kasten, Ane Graff, and Linda Goode Bryant.
Previously, Klein held positions in the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art’ the Roski School of Fine Arts, University of Southern California; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Klein said, “I am excited to join the team at The Contemporary Austin and to build on its deep commitment to artists and their publics in a city that is at the epicenter of many of the most pressing issues of our time. I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues to support underrepresented narratives, disciplines, and communities, understood in their broadest sense. I can’t wait to get started.”
Since May 2018, Orendorff has led Vox Populi, a nonprofit gallery, performance venue, and artist collective in Philadelphia that has been in operation for over 30 years. For Vox, Orendorff oversaw all administrative and fundraising tasks while also guiding and mentoring an evolving collective of 20 artists through the development and presentation of dozens of exhibitions and public programs each year. Orendorff has also worked as the curator of public programs at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, and programs director for Chicago’s Threewalls Gallery where he also managed The Propeller Fund, a Warhol Foundation regional regranting initiative.
“I’m elated to be joining The Contemporary Austin and am very inspired by the enthusiasm and thoughtfulness of the team members I’ve met,” said Orendorff. “The opportunity to connect with Austin audiences while contributing to and developing the museum’s programming is incredibly exciting.”
The Contemporary Austin’s new hires absolutely fail to align with their “renewed commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility”. I’m sure these two brand new Austinites will be great additions to TCA and our city, but there was an incredible opportunity to put people of color in leadership positions at the museum. TCA had an opportunity to actually do what their DEIA statement says they are going to do, but they chose not to. That decision speaks volumes about The Contemporary and its future, unfortunately, it also reflects poorly on the rest of us in the art community who are actually doing the work to change the white-centeredness of art in Austin.
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