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University of Minnesota appoints Howard Oransky as director of Katherine E. Nash Gallery

March 29, 2011

The University of Minnesota has named Howard Oransky the new director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery in the Department of Art. Oransky was director of continuing studies at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design from 2008 until this month. Previously, he was on staff at the Walker Art Center from 1994 to 2008. As the Walker's director of planning he was the staff project manager on the museum expansion project designed by Herzog & de Meuron. He started at the Nash on Monday, March 28.

“I feel fortunate and excited to become the next director of the Nash Gallery. The University of Minnesota is a major center for research in many fields and my vision for the Nash Gallery is that it will become a research center for the practice and interpretation of the visual arts. The Regis Center for Art studios and gallery are our laboratories for experimentation and discovery. The gallery program will thrive in collaboration with faculty and students in the Department of Art, other university departments in the College of Liberal Arts, and with the Twin Cities community,” said Oransky.

“Howard’s years of successful experience in museum and gallery management, his art college administrative and teaching skills, and his studio practice as a visual artist make him a passionate advocate for the gallery and ambassador within the university and to the surrounding community,” said Alexis Kuhr, chair of the Department of Art.

Oransky distinguished himself during 14 years on staff at Walker Art Center, where he managed institution-wide audience-development initiatives supported by major arts funders such as Lila Wallace Foundation, Bush Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts; coordinated strategic planning; produced policy documents such as the collections accession and acquisition policy; and coordinated the tours of 10 Walker exhibitions that traveled to 40 museums nationally and overseas.

“Howard played an indispensible role in the Walker's institution-wide audience development initiatives as well as the museum expansion designed by Herzon & de Meuron. Now we look forward to collaborating with him in his new role as director of the Nash Gallery,” said Olga Viso, executive director of Walker Art Center.

In 1994, he began teaching critical studies as an adjunct in the Fine Arts division at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His work with students in the undergraduate and graduate programs continued and in 2008 he left his position at the Walker to become the director of continuing studies at MCAD. In this role he established new partnerships in the community and increased scholarship funding for youth programs with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Minnesota State Arts Board.

"Howard's leadership at the college and in the community attracted important national and regional grant-funding that allowed Minneapolis College of Art and Design to bring many talented low-income youth to our studio programs for young artists. We look forward to future collaborations with him at the University of Minnesota," said Jay Coogan, president of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Oransky is a co-founder of Form + Content Gallery, which has just completed its fourth year of operation in downtown Minneapolis. In 2007 he co-curated the exhibition Modes of Disclosure and included artists from Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Vancouver and the Twin Cities. In 2010 he co-curated the exhibition Love Never Dies and included artists from Beijing, Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Oslo, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Toronto and the Twin Cities. He has served on the boards of the Midwest Art Conservation Center and the Center for Arts Criticism, the Hennepin County Library Exhibition Review Committee, and is currently serving as a panelist for the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Howard Oransky was born in Los Angeles. He received a Wasserman Scholarship and MFA in painting from California Institute of the Arts in 1984. At CalArts he was mentored by John Baldessari and worked as a graduate teaching assistant in painting with Douglas Huebler. From 1984 to 1994 he lived in New Jersey and New York where he received painting fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and had a studio at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center studio arts program sponsored by the New York Department of Cultural Affairs. His first exhibition was the 1985 group show Oppression/Expression organized by Leon Golub and Lowery Sims at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. Since then he has been included in 100 exhibitions nationally and currently has a studio at the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art in Minneapolis.

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