POSITION DESCRIPTION FOR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
posted January 2013
The Chinati Foundation is an art museum based on the ideas of its founder, artist Donald Judd. It is located primarily at the site of former US Army Fort D.A. Russell, on the outskirts of Marfa, Texas, where renovation and installation at the rededicated site began in 1979, with initial funding from the Dia Art Foundation. Chinati opened to the public in 1986 as an independent, non-profit, publicly funded institution. Marfa, the seat of Presidio County, is located 200 miles southeast of El Paso, 60 miles from the Mexican border, close to Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains.
Judd's specific intention was to create permanent installations of contemporary art, insulated from the visual and programmatic distractions of most art museums. He sought a unified experience in which art, architecture and the surrounding natural environment would be inextricably linked. The remote location he chose, requiring a serious commitment on the part of all those who choose to visit it rewards the effort and reinforces the impact of some of the late 20th century's most extraordinary works of art. The museum, which has a total of 32 buildings, is situated on 340 acres of land in the high Chihuahuan desert, 4,685 feet above sea level. Permanent installations consist of 15 monumental outdoor concrete works by Donald Judd; 100 aluminum works by Judd housed in two converted artillery sheds; a building in downtown Marfa with 23 sculptures by John Chamberlain; six former army barracks together comprising one large-scale work in colored fluorescent light by Dan Flavin; Monument to the Last Horse, an outdoor sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen; an installation by Ilya Kabakov entitled School #6; an installation of poems by Carl Andre; a building devoted to the paintings of John Wesley; and a space with drawings and paintings by Icelandic artist Ingólfur Arnarsson. There is also work on view by Roni Horn, Richard Long, David Rabinowitch and Carl Andre.
The Chinati Foundation organizes special exhibitions, which have usually remained on view for 6-10 months, and have been either focused on aspects of the work of artists represented in the permanent collection (i.e. the foam sculptures by John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg's working drawings) or have featured the work of a diverse group of artists linked to Judd's interests and enthusiasms. These have included, among others, Josef Albers, Hendrik Goltzius, El Lissitzky, Piet Mondriaan, Ken Price, Jan Schoonhoven, Fred Sandback, Robert Irwin and Jean Arp.
The museum also sponsors related arts and education programs, including artists' residencies, college and university internships, children's art classes, international symposia (the proceedings of which are published), seminars, performances, concerts and other annual celebrations -- setting a standard for artistic excellence while continuing to attract visitors to Marfa, deepening their appreciation of contemporary art. The museum publishes an award- winning annual newsletter which chronicles its activities and has become one of the most respected publications of its kind in America.
Chinati has a long-range plan that affirms its commitment to preserving its installations and buildings, and expanding the collection according to Donald Judd's vision. The operation of the museum is supported by earned and contributed income, including the proceeds of a growing endowment currently valued at approximately $12.4 million. It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 18 voting directors.
The Board has decided to reorganize its approach to the long term management of the institution by establishing the new position of Executive Director. In the past a single Director has provided both executive and curatorial programming. Going forward the Board is seeking a dedicated Executive Director to manage the Museum and staff and to provide artistic vision while working with a Curatorial consultant and or full time Curator, reporting to the Executive Director, who can provide the artistic oversight and programming responsibilities for Chinati.
The Executive Director will serve as the CEO of Chinati and will report to the Board of Directors. The Executive Director will attend all Board Meetings, and work in partnership with the Board President, the Governance Committee and the other Board Committees and Directors. Reporting to the Executive Director will be Chinati's COO, CFO, Associate Director, Curatorial Consultant and Director of Development plus other Senior Staff, to be determined. The Executive Director position is located in Marfa, TX.
The Executive Director of The Chinati Foundation is expected to be an executive of proven accomplishment, as well as an inspiring leader who will work with the staff and outside curatorial support to maintain the vision and uncompromising standards that have traditionally characterized the institution. He or she must also provide the fundraising and management expertise to ensure that the museum, which currently has an annual operating budget of approximately $2.1million, advances and maintains its fiscal stability. The Executive Director will continue to shape the realization of Donald Judd's vision for the museum moving forward and, to this end, will need to initiate together with the staff and Board a new 5-year strategic plan that encompasses both the maintenance of the museum's physical facility as well as the expansion of its permanent collections and the development of its programs, staffing, and endowment. The Executive Director will be responsible for the development and implementation of all fundraising activities in order to guarantee the long-term viability of Chinati's operations and the implementation of the strategic plan.
While needing to travel to promote Chinati's interests beyond its remote locale, it is important that the director become a civic leader and active participant in Marfa's thriving culture. It is further expected that the Executive Director demonstrate seasoned ability to function in the following areas:
Management, Fundraising, and Financial Administration
Artistic and Educational Programs
Board Relations and Governance
It has only been due to the talent, resourcefulness, and commitment of its founder, Director Emeritus and its current staff that the Chinati Foundation has been able to achieve a distinction and renown quite normally incommensurate with a budget as small as that which has sustained it. In that regard, the institution has been something of an example to other museums and a beacon for its loyal constituency, which repeatedly makes the pilgrimage to Marfa that Donald Judd originally envisioned. Thus, going forward, the Board is seeking to identify candidates for the executive directorship who will exemplify the clear vision and standards of its founder and Director Emeritus while helping Chinati prepare for the challenges of a new decade and the generational transition of leadership and staff from those who had first-hand knowledge of Judd.
Much as it is in any museum today, effectiveness as a fundraiser will be a necessary skill for the successful performance of this job, and Chinati's next Executive Director should be able to capitalize on the international reputation of its collections and programs to augment its level of contributed income. Executive Director candidates should have a track record of museum management including the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan. It is also essential that they have administrative ability and experience, excellent communication skills (both when speaking and when writing), tact, and a sense of ease and comfort with the local Marfa community and potential donors, supporters and artists. Candidates must also have, or develop, the international contacts necessary to maintain Chinati's position among its peer institutions. Prior experience in facilities oversight and renovation is a plus.
The position is currently vacant and will be filled at the earliest possible opportunity.
PROCEDURE FOR APPLICATION
Applicants should submit a resume, a one-page narrative describing interest and experience, and the names of three references. Applications will be reviewed by Management Consultants for the Arts, an executive search firm working with The Chinati Foundation's Board of Directors. Suggestions of candidates are also welcome.
Send resume and accompanying materials to:
Linda Sweet or Diane Frankel
Subject: Chinati Email: MCAWall2@gmail.com
The Chinati Foundation is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.