Celebrate a decade in its new building, Parrish Art Museum hires Mónica Ramírez-Montagut as its next director

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Mónica Ramírez-Montagut said the position is “a dream come true,” and said that she plans to deepen the Parrish Museum’s programming “through a more diverse lens.”

Monica Ramirez-Montagut, a veteran curator from Mexico, will become the new director of the Parrish Museum of Art in Water Mill, New York, the museum announced on Wednesday.

Monica Ramirez-Montegut, director of the Broad Museum of Art at Michigan State University, fills a leadership position that was left vacant in December when Kelly Thaxter announced her departure after less than a year in the role.

Monica Ramirez-Montegut said in an interview that this is a dream come true. She also added that she plans to deepen the museum’s program through a more diverse lens while using art to serve our immediate communities through social justice exhibitions. Ramirez-Montagut is known for works such as architect Zaha Hadid’s major retrospective in 2006, which she helped organize when she was Assistant Curator at the Guggenheim Museum from 2005 to 2008.

In 2019, Mónica Ramírez-Montagut also curated a traveling show that featured artwork inspired by the stories of women incarcerated in the Louisiana prison system. Alexandra Stanton, an attorney, and co-chair of the county’s board said in an interview that Mónica Ramírez-Montagut has warmth and managerial experience. She also added that she is as committed to running the museum itself as she is to serving our communities.

Regional institutions like Parrish Art Museum, a leader among Long Island artists, have struggled to recruit and retain talent amid the coronavirus pandemic. Visitors expect their museums to act more like community centers, with more emphasis on local programming and representation.

Over the past couple of years, the Parrish Art Museum has attempted to win over the growing working-class Hispanic population in Suffolk County. There is its elegant 34,400-square-foot building set on 14 acres. The Parrish Art Museum also has a long-standing relationship with the Organización Latino-Americana (OLA), a group committed to improving the welfare of Latinos in Long Island’s East End.

Later this month, Parrish Art Museum will partner with a non-profit organization at a Latin American dance party, and in September, it will take part in the OLA Film Festival. New exhibitions highlight the contributions of black artists such as Camila Janan Rashid, Torkwase Dyson, and Hank Willis Thomas.

Parrish Art Museum also expects to diversify its board. One colored board member will be appointed shortly, and two or three more people of color are expected to join the board over the summer.

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