Guggenheim Create New Curatorial Position for Architecture and Digital Initiatives
Troy Conrad Therrien Appointed to Advance the Guggenheim’s Innovative Programs for Architecture, Urban Studies, and New Digital Initiatives
Richard Armstrong, Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, today announced the appointment of architect and scholar Troy Conrad Therrien as Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives. As the first person to hold this new position, Therrien will contribute to the development of the museum’s engagement with architecture, design, technology, and urban studies, in addition to providing leadership on select new projects under the direction of the Chief Curator and the Director’s Office.
The Guggenheim’s role in architecture has always been one of patronage, commissioning Frank Lloyd Wright to design its landmark building in New York City and Frank Gehry to design the celebrated Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which extended the institution’s global constellation of museums. The Guggenheim has also involved major architects in the design of special exhibitions, including Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, and I.M. Pei. In recent years, the Guggenheim has expanded its programming to encompass robust online outreach as well as groundbreaking, off-site architectural initiatives such as the BMW Guggenheim Lab and stillspotting (2011–13), which were inserted into the fabrics of multiple cities around the world.
“Advancing innovative programming that relates to architecture, technology, and urban studies, particularly on a global stage, is a priority for the Guggenheim,” Richard Armstrong stated. “Troy’s impressive and dynamic background spanning academia, architecture, and computer science should expand our forward-looking curatorial team.”
As Curator, Architecture and Digital Initiatives, Therrien will articulate and advance the Guggenheim’s mission to be an agent of social change through its array of public programs on- and off-site and in the digital realm. Building on the Guggenheim’s role as a convener of dialogues about contemporary architecture and urban development, Therrien’s work will look beyond traditional exhibition programming to more discursive models such as think tanks, public forums, online content development, and the establishment of networks for intellectual exchange around the world.
A major and immediate component of Therrien’s work will be related to the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition. His appointment follows the announcement of a record-breaking number of architectural submissions to the open and anonymous competition and the launch of the project’s popular, interactive, online gallery of entries. Therrien will help organize an exhibition of six shortlisted submissions to be held in Helsinki in the spring of 2015, and he will play a key role in developing and articulating the programmatic elements of the proposed museum. These efforts will require a direct engagement with leaders in the arts, architecture, and design communities of Helsinki, New York, and other relevant locations.
Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, said, “Troy’s appointment represents an important expansion of the curatorial department’s engagement with issues related to design and the digital realm. He brings conceptually rigorous expertise and hands-on experience in both areas, which should enrich the Guggenheim’s programming on all levels—from architectural initiatives to our digital platforms.”
About his appointment, Therrien stated, “The front lines of innovation are migrating from the digital frontier to its wake, to the social and cultural effects of the last decades of radical change. I am excited to join the Guggenheim, an institution that embraces innovation as its mission, at precisely the moment when I believe museums will become the most urgent sites for this discourse and experimentation.”
Therrien earned his MA in histories and theories from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He also received an M.Arch. from Columbia University, where he was awarded the AIA Henry Adams Medal as top graduating student, and a BA in computer engineering from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Therrien holds the position of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, where he teaches design, theory, and technology courses related to his work as co-director of the Architecture Online Lab, which is dedicated to investigating the effects of the digitization of the physical environment, and The Energy Issue, Columbia’s flagship research initiative dedicated to the cultural aspects of global energy issues, which Therrien founded and directed. Previously, he was Chief Architect of Digital Communications and Research, also at Columbia University. As a former partner of Therrien–Barley, he worked as an innovation consultant to companies such as Audi, Louis Vuitton, and Microsoft. As an independent curator, Therrien has worked on exhibitions at the Berlage Institute, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Columbia University, MoMA PS1, and elsewhere, and has worked on various projects with the New Museum. Therrien has written widely on architecture and technology, and is a regular speaker and design critic at venues around the world.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The Guggenheim network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has since expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997), and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently in development). Looking to the future, the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the museum, including with the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, and with The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. More information about the Foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.
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