Monday, January 11, 2010

Directors In, Directors Out

Yesterday The Architect's Newspaper announced that the Director of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, Jospeh Grimma will be leaving his position to return to Europe. Storefront's web page confirms this and gives details on the search for his replacement (send your CV and letter of interest to them by February 7th if you're interested).

This news comes only a few days after the Cooper-Hewitt announced their new Director, Bill Moggridge, "designer of the first laptop computer in 1980 and co-founder of IDEO, the renowned innovation and design firm." And last month The Architect's Newspaper also broke the story that Olympia Kazi is taking over as Executive Director at the Van Alen Institute, leaving the same post at the Institute for Urban Design. Neither organization's web page mentions this shift (IUD still lists Olympia as Executive Director under Staff and the Van Alen lists Joan Ockman as Interim Director under the same). Olympia's move comes shortly after the IUD announced their upcoming Urban Design Week received a hefty grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

I'm wondering if the timing of these three (or is it four?) New York City architecture/design-related Director shifts is just a coincidence, or if the timing is related to something wider, such as the economy. I have no grounds to think there is something bigger leading to these, and maybe other shake-ups, but the timing surely makes me curious. Joseph held his post for about three years, Olympia for two, and Moggridge's predecessor for eight years. The first two organizations, and the Van Alen, are small beans compared to the Cooper-Hewitt, part of the even larger Smithsonian Institution, but all share a common goal of having strong international presences, extending their reach beyond the confines of their respective homes in New York City.