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Louis Grachos Leaving the Albright-Knox

Filed under: Art

Louis Grachos, director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, is leaving for a new post in Austin, Texas. Here’s the press release from the AKAG:

Photo by Jim Bush

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery announced today that Director Louis Grachos has accepted the position of Executive Director at AMOA-Arthouse, a new organization formed by the merger of two long-standing arts organizations in Austin, Texas, effective January 2013. He will be leaving Buffalo and the Albright- Knox after a decade of outstanding leadership, which saw significant growth and change for the institution.

In announcing Grachos’s departure, Leslie H. Zemsky, President of The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, the Gallery’s governing body, said, “Louis has done incredible work at the Gallery. He has dedicated himself to continuing to build a vibrant, vital art museum and positioning it for future development as part of the fabric of a strong arts community in Western New York. His work here has energized and engaged the entire region of Buffalo Niagara and beyond. Today, the Gallery is set for a period of unprecedented growth as a result of his tenure. We will continue his great work. We are forming a committee to initiate a national search for our next director, and we will be working closely with Louis to ensure a smooth transition. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I extend our sincere thanks to Louis for his dedication and commitment to the Gallery, and for his leadership in placing this museum at the vanguard of contemporary and modern art. It has truly been a pleasure to work with him on so many important projects.”

Speaking about his new appointment and his transition, Grachos said, “I am looking forward to working to build a world-class contemporary program in Austin. It is an exciting and unique opportunity. The merger of the Austin Museum of Art and Arthouse at the Jones Center presents endless possibilities to create a new model for an organization that will creatively integrate contemporary and modern art into the entire Austin community.

1 of 3I look forward to working with the BFAA’s Board of Directors to ensure a smooth transition for the Albright-Knox. I will miss the strong, talented management team we have here, and I want to thank them for their support. We still have a lot to do over the next six months, as we continue to celebrate our landmark 150th anniversary with a variety of exhibitions, programs, and events for the whole community. I want to thank our outstanding Board of Directors, who have steadfastly supported me over the past ten years. It has been an honor to work with such wonderful people at one of the world’s great contemporary and modern art museums. I am proud, too, of being part of our region’s growth as a world- class art and architecture destination. I will continue to champion the great work of the Albright-Knox.”

Grachos has been director of the Albright-Knox since December 2002. During his tenure, he has implemented a strong, dynamic exhibitions program, which featured the landmark exhibition Extreme Abstraction in 2005, as well as the Remix and Artists in Depth series of exhibitions that mined and deeply explored the Gallery’s Collection in new ways, frequently inviting leading local, national, and international artists to engage with the Gallery and become involved in selecting and installing exhibitions in the museum’s spaces. He also initiated a host of innovative and important projects, programs, and community collaborations, which include Art’scool, Gusto at the Gallery, and M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY. Grachos has applied his strong vision to the Gallery’s vibrant acquisitions program, adding many significant, key works to the Collection over the past ten years and ensuring its growth for the future. The exhibition DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002– 2012, which the Gallery will present this fall in concert with a weekend of programming and events as part of the continuing celebration of the Gallery’s 150th anniversary, will show, for the first time, many works that have entered the Collection during Grachos’s tenure.

Establishing strong ties between the Gallery and the broader community has also been a priority for Grachos during his directorship. The ambitious Beyond/In Western New York exhibitions, presented at venues throughout the Buffalo Niagara region in 2005, 2007, and 2010, shone a spotlight on the vibrant and thriving art scene in Western New York, and helped establish the region as an important arts destination.

Michael (Mickey) Klein, chairman of the AMOA-Arthouse Board of Trustees, said of Grachos’s appointment, “We are thrilled to have Louis Grachos on board to lead the museum during this very important time in its history. He comes with an outstanding reputation in the art world and extensive relationships with artists, collectors, and museum colleagues. He has a wealth of knowledge and a history of creating exciting exhibitions and programs. I know Louis will be a great asset to the Austin arts community.”

AMOA-Arthouse provides rich environments for a wide range of audiences to investigate and experience excellence in modern and contemporary art. The museum accomplishes this through innovative programs and direct access to the creative process. Laguna Gloria, the museum’s ancestral home, which includes the restored, 1916 Italianate-style Driscoll villa, has been declared a national treasure

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and is listed on City of Austin, State of Texas, and national registries of historic places. The 12-acre site perfectly complements the museum’s award-winning and architecturally significant downtown space, The Jones Center. A renowned example of adaptive reuse, the recently renovated facility, designed by architects Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, was once an early-1900s movie palace, and later a department store, before becoming the museum’s downtown site.For more information, please visit the museum’s online home at