Art Market

Donna De Salvo, the longtime Whitney Museum curator, is stepping down.

Wallace Ludel
Jun 20, 2019 5:25PM, via Whitney Museum

Donna De Salvo. Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage.

After 15 years at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Donna De Salvo, the museum’s widely accomplished deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator, is resigning her post. The announcement, released by the museum on Wednesday, states that her resignation will take effect July 1st and that De Salvo is leaving “to pursue other interests.”

Adam Weinberg, director of the Whitney, said in the statement:

Donna De Salvo has played an indispensable role in helping to set the foundations for the Whitney as it now exists. Her contributions are reflected in the roster of exhibitions that bear the stamp of her unique take on art and culture, major works acquired under her inspired stewardship of the collection, and the artist-centric galleries of the downtown building.

De Salvo joined the Whitney in 2004 and became its first chief curator and deputy director for programs in 2006, a position she held until 2015, at which point she took on her current deputy director role. That same year, De Salvo shepherded the museum through its move from the Upper East Side’s Breuer Building, which it had occupied since 1966, to its new home in the Meatpacking District. She spearheaded the museum’s curatorial team for “America Is Hard to See,” the remarkable first show at the Whitney’s new location.

Among De Salvo’s litany of curatorial achievements at the Whitney are retrospectives of such artists as Lawrence Weiner in 2007, Roni Horn in 2009, and Hélio Oiticica in 2017. She also curated the Andy Warhol retrospective, “Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again,” which is presently touring at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will soon head to the Art Institute of Chicago. For the United States Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale, De Salvo co-curated “Course of Empire: Paintings by Ed Ruscha,” which then came to the Whitney in 2005. Throughout her 15-year tenure, she also helped the museum acquire works by countless artists.

Prior to the Whitney, De Salvo worked as a curator at the Dia Art Foundation, an adjunct curator at the Andy Warhol Museum, and senior curator at Tate Modern.

De Salvo said in the statement:

I hold a deep regard for the Whitney, which has been my home for one of the most fulfilling periods of my career. I joined the Whitney to work with Adam Weinberg and his team, to imagine and help realize a new home for the museum, and to expand understanding of what art in the United States is and can be. It has been an enormous privilege to collaborate with extraordinary artists, trustees, and colleagues and to have overseen the curatorial direction of the Whitney during one of the most transformative periods of the institution’s history.
Wallace Ludel