Socrates Sculpture Park appoints New Museum’s John Hatfield as new Director
LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y.- Socrates Sculpture Park announces the appointment of its next executive director, John Hatfield. Hatfield will assume directorship of the Park on January 18, 2012, following seventeen years at the internationally acclaimed New Museum of Contemporary Art in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There, Hatfield served in the capacity of Deputy Director since 2008 and held various positions from 1992 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2011. He succeeds Alyson Baker, who served as Director from 2000 to 2011 and has since become the Executive Director at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum as of July.
As Deputy Director of the New Museum, Hatfield contributed to the development and execution of short and long range strategic planning in all areas of the museum and oversaw the growth and expansion of staff, earned revenue sources, operations, digital resources, finances and programming. He has worked with hundreds of artists and curators on the successful programming of the museum, initiated and launched a groundbreaking digital archive and managed several expansion projects.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce our selection of John Hatfield as the new director of Socrates Sculpture Park. His insightful leadership and passion for artists, as proven by his accomplishments at The New Museum, is exactly what we need to uphold Socrates’ extraordinary legacy and to guide the organization through its next developmental phase,” remarked Board President Stuart Match Suna.
Socrates Founder and Board Chairman Mark di Suvero said: “We are thrilled to have John Hatfield join the outer space-time visionary world of Socrates—a miraculous artspace that has changed a Queen’s neighborhood.”
Hatfield had this to say about his recent appointment: “Assuming the leadership of Socrates Sculpture Park on the occasion of its 25th anniversary is absolutely thrilling. The genesis of Socrates was to reclaim abandoned waterfront land and create a park for artists to present public sculpture. Today, it is an example of how culture and the arts can lead the way in providing a vision for improving civic life and is an urban planning model that has been replicated throughout the city and country. Socrates Sculpture Park is a unique place where theory is transformed into action—in some cases literally concrete action in the form of sculpture, poetic action in the shape of performances, and environmental action through workshops on sustainable practices. I look forward to working with artists, city officials, supporters, local community leaders and trustees of the park to build upon Socrates’ previous successes and to facilitate a bright future of new opportunities over the next 25 years. “
It seems fitting that Hatfield will be joining the Park at this pivotal moment in the Park’s history. Under his new leadership, the Park will unveil several milestone initiatives in the coming months, including a new architectural residency in partnership with The Architectural League of New York and a highly anticipated online visual archive of the Park’s exhibitions and artists. This spring, Socrates will also open Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City, the second exhibition of a two-year collaboration with The Noguchi Museum that invites renowned artists Natalie Jeremijenko, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija and George Trakas to re-envision their shared neighborhood of Long Island City.
A resident of New York City for the past twenty-three years, John Hatfield has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University. In addition to his tenure at the New Museum, Hatfield served as Assistant Vice President for Memorial, Cultural and Civic Programs at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation from 2002 to 2003, working on the 9/11 memorial design competition and selection process. Additionally, he has held positions at the World Financial Center and Arts and Events Program, been a consultant on public art projects and architecture, worked for a commercial art gallery, been a visiting critic at Yale School of Architecture, served on panels for Percent for Art Program and lectured on cultural development issues.