Last August, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver made Nora Burnett Abrams one of the youngest museum directors in the country when she was promoted to the position of Mark G. Falcone Director. In her previous roles at the museum, Abrams developed convention-busting exhibitions that explore little-known episodes in artists’ careers. Here, she shares what the museum’s next chapter will look like with her at the helm.
You’ve likened MCA Denver to a motorcycle: quick and nimble. What avenues would you like to explore? Part of our ability to be agile comes from willing to depart from conventional programming and discussion around the arts. For example, in January, we hosted the traditional conversations with artists who are showing at the museum, but we also want to offer workshops in which they’ll lead people though exercises that allow them to get more deeply into the creative process.
How do you envision MCA Denver relating to the community? My ideas prioritize working closely with organizations in fields adjacent to the arts. If an artist is doing a project reckoning with some aspect of climate change, for example, why shouldn’t we partner with The Nature Conservancy or the Denver Museum of Nature & Science? Artists inherently look at problems from a slightly skewed point of view, so I feel they can lead us in a positive direction around some of the most vexing issues of our day.
Will you continue to play a part in curating exhibitions? Yes, I will. There is an artist whose work is visually very rich and catches one’s eye, but the stories behind the pictures are really emotionally charged. Giving him a platform to create a new body of work and connect it to Denver is one of the next big things that I’m focused on.
And finally, will you wear more great statement necklaces? I do love a chunky, eye-catching necklace. I’m not one to wear a bright yellow plaid dress, but a bright yellow necklace against a black dress is something I absolutely love.