Letter from the Director
Under the guidance of deputy director Ann Bitter and chief financial officer Mary Polta, we balanced the budget for the year, and we're moving toward completely new systems that will help us converge our 40 present databases. Technology also has found its way to the Registration Department, where those who care for our collection are attaching Radio Frequency Identification tags (RFIDs) to each of our 10,000 prints. This will allow us to track all works instantly and simultaneously document the condition of each print. Similarly, our Edmond R. Ruben Film and Video Study Collection as well as video and audio pieces made of magnetic tape will be "exercised" by being played at normal speed to make certain the tension is even. As the curators develop checklists for the new gallery installations, the registrars, under the direction of Gwen Bitz, inspect each work and decide what proper conservation treatments, if any, need to be completed in the days to come.
       Since we'll open the galleries with multiple exhibitions drawn from the collection-exhibitions overseen by chief curator Richard Flood and senior curator Philippe Vergne in partnership with Cameron Zebrun, director of program services, and his team-it also seemed timely to produce a new 616-page permanent collection catalogue, which is being funded by the Getty Foundation. This tome, edited by collection curator Joan Rothfuss and assistant curator Elizabeth Carpenter, reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the Walker; some 350 entries on visual arts acquisitions and residencies, performing arts commissions, film/video presentations, new digital art forms, artists' books, and design were written by current and past curatorial staff. In fact, 33 alumni are contributing entries; for example, Richard Koshalek, currently president of the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, has written about Robert Irwin, whose work he acquired for the Walker long before the artist was commissioned to design the new garden at the Getty Museum. In addition, 16 authors ranging from art historian Linda Nochlin to novelist A. S. Byatt have contributed essays on an object of special significance to them.
       Our Design Department also is working on three other books (including authoring one on the experience planning that helped shape the design of the public spaces of the expansion), the display of the Walker's history to be installed in the Vineland lobby, the signage and way-finding for the new building, and the design of all accompanying marketing and education materials to be included in its launch. The new Walker will feature scrolling signage, projected on a curtain wall of glass along Hennepin Avenue, which required special approval by the city. This wasn't quite as simple as we thought it would be when design director Andrew Blauvelt dreamed of signage that would reflect the changing nature of Walker programs better than static banners have done in the past. All this is being done in-house by a team of five designers and two editors who also developed the superb graphic identity for "Walker without Walls," which Target made so visible.



Photography Credit(s)
Gene Pittman