New Picker Art Gallery Director Appointed

Kate Preziosi

Earlier this month, President of the University and Professor of Philosophy & Religion Rebecca Chopp announced the appointment of Scott Habes as the new director of the Picker Art Gallery. This appointment marks the end of a search that began in February, following the selection of curator Joachim Homann, who served as interim director.

“He is a first class scholar, and one of the main reasons I was attracted to Colgate,” Homann, who was also a member of the search committee, said.

“This is a moment of great opportunity for the Picker and for Colgate and I am confident that we will see great things from the Picker as Scott is a person of experience, vision and energy,” Chopp said.

In this time of change for the Picker Gallery, Habes is excited about expanding its presence on campus through collaboration with other Colgate organizations.

“The Picker Art Gallery is not just something that exists as a cement cube,” Habes said. “There will be exhibitions in the gallery, yes, but I would like to also perhaps introduce performances in the theater and even on the lawn that are related to what we’re showing at the time. I want to bring a collaborative spirit to virtually everything we do. Hypothetically, we could work with the Latin American Studies department to bring Latino speakers and artists to campus one semester.”

Additionally, Habes is interested in creating a Student Art Exhibition Committee as a way of collaborating with the student body on the decisions he makes for the Picker Gallery.

“It’s going to be a group of students interested in the arts and visual culture,” he said. “We’re going to work together to create exhibitions on campus. I graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in American Art, and there was a similar committee there that was very instrumental in my development.”

Habes emphasized that he is planning on taking time to understand the Colgate culture before he makes any significant decisions about the gallery.

“I really want to work with all the wonderful people here to shape the future of Picker. I have already had the chance to meet some of the faculty, and they’ve got a lot of really interesting ideas that they’ve approached me with. It’s exciting. I think there’s a real opportunity here to build on the history of art at Colgate.”

Habes recalls the first time that he visited Colgate in 2000, for a conference on African American Art.

“[The conference] is viewed today as one of the seminal events of African American Art. That’s how I see Colgate in the future, as having that kind of impact on the art world.”

This spring marks a semester of Chinese art collections in both the Picker and Clifford galleries. The Clifford Gallery will feature more contemporary pieces, with the Picker focusing on some more historical work. The shows, titled “Woodcuts in Modern China, 1937-2008: Towards a Universal Pictorial Language,” will make visible the ways in which the artists of the 1930s and 1940s influence contemporary practice in the choice of medium, subject matter and modes of representation.