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Arts & Culture

Regine Basha named Artpace director

Photo: , License: N/A

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Finally, Artpace has a new executive director. Since past-director Matthew Drutt left suddenly in January 2011, interim managing director Mary Heathcott has run the day-to-day affairs of the contemporary art center on North Main. Beginning this March, Regine Basha will take the helm, just in time for Contemporary Art Month. Born in Israel, she was raised in Montreal, Canada, and Los Angeles. Basha began her career in Montreal as director of the Art Gallery of the Saidye Bronfman Centre, and has worked independently in many cities, including Istanbul, Cairo, Berlin, among others. No stranger to Texas, Basha was adjunct curator at Austin's Arthouse at the Jones Center from 2002-2007, and has curated shows at Ballroom Marfa, Sala Diaz, and the Dallas Contemporary. Her recent projects have included shows at the Bloomberg Headquarters in NYC and teaching at Rhode Island School of Design. She sits on the boards of Art Matters (NY) and The Aurora Picture Show (Houston).

Basha spoke with the Current last week.

What do you like most about Artpace?

Artpace has been on my radar for a long time. It is one of the best artist residency programs that I have seen. I feel honored to be heading the organization. The scale and commitment it gives to artists is the way I would like to continue my practice.

Are there any changes in the works?

We are thinking of expanding online services. I would like to consider the online presence as a project in itself, not just a promotional vehicle. I would like to develop interviews that will be available online, bring more engagement with the artists to the public. I feel that Artpace does what it does quite well with the residency program, and I would like that to continue to be its main feature, and not so much exhibitions as it has been in the past with the Hudson (Show)Room.

Process is an important part of the residency program — making work onsite during a limited period. But it's still presented at Artpace in the traditional object-oriented exhibition format.

That's fine, I think, as long as there is an additional component of context. My interest is to flesh out the ideas and the presence of the artist that are already there, and find ways that the public can access those ideas, in even more ways than now, and create more partnerships with other kinds of institutions: research facilities, universities, any resources that the artists may want to engage with, and become a forum for conversations with the partnerships that happen during the production of work. I'm all for providing an aesthetic experience, where the audience can bring their own experience and meet half-way and understand the meaning of the work in the world. Because oftentimes, these artists who come are engaged in ideas, and issues, and processes, and people — they have tentacles that spread out into Texas and the world. I think there is something to be done to accommodate those tangents. I'm still working out how that can happen.

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