Aspen Art Museum CEO Heidi Zuckerman leaving after 14 years |

Aspen Art Museum CEO Heidi Zuckerman leaving after 14 years

Staff report
Aspen Art Museum CEO Heidi Zuckerman.
Courtesy photo

Heidi Zuckerman, who has been CEO and director of the Aspen Art Museum since 2005, will leave her post when her contract ends Sept. 30, the museum’s board of trustees announced Friday.

Zuckerman led the organization as it transformed into an internationally recognized institution and spearheaded its capital and endowment campaign to build a 33,000-square-foot, $45 million facility, which opened in August 2014 in downtown Aspen. The museum, founded in 1979, had previously been housed in a city-owned former powerhouse on the Roaring Fork River in what is now the Aspen Chamber Resort Association office.

The announcement did not say what Zuckerman will be doing after she leaves the museum.

“Together, we have made the AAM into the vibrant, thriving and globally facing international institution it is today,” Zuckerman said in the announcement. “I believe, more than ever, that ‘Art Saves Lives,’ and I am excited to continue connecting people with art and artists in order to make lives better. I wish the AAM, and all those who engage with it, continuing and ever-growing success.”

Zuckerman thanked the museum’s board, national council and staff in the announcement, while board leaders Amnon Rodan, Paul Pariser and John Phelan praised her as a “visionary director.”

Zuckerman declined further comment through a spokesperson Friday evening.

She was hired in July 2005 to replace director Dean Sobel and she quickly narrowed the museum’s curatorial focus to three criteria: first-time U.S. solo museum exhibitions by significant emerging contemporary artists from around the globe; solo exhibitions established contemporary artists that focus on new, unrecognized, or underappreciated aspects of their artistic output; and group exhibitions curated to address prescient or topical contemporary cultural, social or political subject matter.

Internationally recognized artists with whom she has worked recently in curating exhibitions include Rashid Johnson, whose “The Hikers” will open July 4 and John Armleder, whose “Spoons, moons and masks” will run concurrently. They follow recent shows by Gabriel Rico (2019); Cheryl Donegan (2018); Nate Lowman (2017); Wade Guyton/Peter Fischli/David Weiss (2017); Jack Pierson (2017); Adam McEwen (2017); Julian Schnabel (2016 to 2017); Ceal Floyer (2016); Gabriel Orozco (2016); and Alan Shields (2016).

Zuckerman also launched initiatives like the museum’s annual ArtCrush benefit, the annual Aspen Award for Art, and an artist-in-residence program.

“Heidi is a visionary director who has turned this museum into a global leader in contemporary art and we wish her the best in all her future plans,” the officials said in the statement.

The new museum was part of a $75 million fundraising campaign, and she led a second phase that raised more than $8 million in endowment funding, according to the statement.

In July 2017, the museum was one of 10 national institutions to receive the National Medal for Museum and Library Services, which is the highest recognition awarded by the federal government to museums and libraries for service to their communities. The museum was recognized for its educational outreach to underserved communities in the Roaring Fork Valley and the Western Slope.

The board of trustees said it will put together a search committee to look for Zuckerman’s replacement.