Ruth Horwich Defends the Staff

Board Exhibitions Founders Staff

Ruth Horwich stood up for the staff with the board, claiming that the board’s job was to support them, not criticize.

For years, I took the minutes at all the Collection Committees. They were always so supportive of the curators bringing them artists that they hadn't necessarily heard of. And taking a chance and taking a risk, and sometimes when things seemed to be getting a little like, "Oh, people are being a little conservative," people like Ruth Horwich would stand up and go, "They're the staff! They know what they're doing. We should let them do what they know how to do, and not impose what we think on them. We're just here to support them.” So, there were definitely trustees on that Collection Committee for years that would just really speak up for—they may never have heard of this artist, but they just realize that—let the staff do their thing, so to speak. And most of those shows turned out to be kind of legendary shows. You know, these artists they hadn't necessarily heard of.

Another one that I remember people were a little doubtful about was Christian Boltanski, which was another Mary Jane Jacob–era show. And yet now he's gone on and does amazing work, and we have a lot of wonderful pieces in the collection by him. So, the collecting of the local community, their personal interests—sometimes, you know, you find those interests important and you wanted to reflect them. But sometimes you had to just say, "Look, we're going to show you something new," and the fact that there was that receptivity there is—when I look back, I'm always like, "Wow.” Because they could have said no so many times. And they didn't.

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