Kate Fowle revealed on Friday that she was stepping down from her role as director of MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, New York, after three years on the job. Fowle cited no reason for her sudden departure but added that she would continue to organize the institution’s Daniel Lind-Ramos exhibition, slated to open in April of next year. The museum’s interim leadership includes deputy director Jose Ortiz, curatorial affairs director Ruba Katrib, and director of external affairs Molly Kurzius; alongside museum board chair Sarah Arison and Glenn Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art. Fowle’s last day is July 15.
Fowle arrived to PS1 in September 2019 to a post that had remained empty for over a year following Klaus Biesenbach’s move to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (he left that position last year). The British-born director quickly cut a different path from her predecessor, establishing a strong reputation at PS1 for engaging the local community in shows that grappled with a wide range of social issues, even as she was almost immediately tasked with navigating the difficulties brought on by the pandemic. Her brief time there saw exhibitions including the Nicole Fleetwood–curated “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Incarceration” and “Nuevayorkinos: Essential and Excluded” as well as a gallery, “Homeroom,” geared toward collaborative exhibition-making with organizations in Long Island City and nearby neighborhoods.
Before joining PS1, Fowle spent six years as the chief curator of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, helping oversee the 2015 opening of its Rem Koolhaas–designed building and commencing the Garage Triennial two years later.
The resignation is a surprising move by Fowle, who had, in a New York Times profile published only three months ago, outlined her goals for what seemed like a long future ahead: “to strengthen the connection with its neighbors in Western Queens and North Brooklyn, to make PS1 a hub of community activity through art, to lean into the museum’s progressive roots and to give the institution an identity distinct from MoMA’s.”