Hanh Ho is out as curator of contemporary art at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Hired late last year, she worked remotely with the museum before relocating to Arizona in January. Now, her brief term has already come to an end.
SMoCA is part of Scottsdale Arts, the nonprofit tasked by the city of Scottsdale with managing the museum, as well as Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Public Art. Gerd Wuestemann joined Scottsdale Arts as CEO and president just one year ago, in March 2018.
The museum was founded in 1999, which means it's currently celebrating its 20-year anniversary. It's seen plenty of changes during the last year. Sara Cochran resigned as director and chief curator in April 2018. Jennifer McCabe was appointed to the position later that year, after serving as curator of contemporary art.
The museum let Ho go last Friday, March 8, according to Wuestemann. "We terminated the relationship as amicably as possible," he says. "It just wasn't a good fit for us." Turns out, her background in gallery operations wasn't the best match, he says. "She brought some interesting perspectives, but we decided to part ways after realizing it just wasn't the right fit for us."
The museum has undergone several leadership changes in recent years.
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Neale Perle resigned as CEO of Scottsdale Arts in October 2017, a position he’d held since August 2014. During his term, Donna Isaac retired as director for Scottsdale Public Art, and was replaced by Kim Curry-Evans. Amy Nesbitt served only briefly as director of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, from August to early October 2017.
Changes occurred earlier in Perle’s term, as well. Tim Rodgers stepped down as director for Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in May 2015, after six years in the role. Then, Cory Baker resigned as director for Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts in June 2015, a position she’d held since 2010.
This marks the second major departure for SMoCA since Wuestemann took the helm for Scottsdale Arts.
Rather than hiring a new curator of contemporary art right away, they'll work with several guest curators during the next six to 12 months. After that, they'll evaluate the museum's needs moving forward. "We've got a good game plan, and feel really good about where we're headed," Wuestemann says.