Walker Arts Center announces departure of executive director

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Walker Arts Center announces departure of executive director

The museum made the announcement Tuesday, saying that Viso will leave her post by the end of the year.

One of the most recent-and one of the most dramatic-changes at the museum under Viso's leadership was the redesign of the Walker's campus and the expansion of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which showcases large-scale outdoor works from the Walker's collection.

The board also credits Viso for serving as a cultural leader nationally and locally on the boards of the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. "Completing the vision for the campus that began in 2005 with the Walker's Herzog and DeMeuron addition has been an absolute highlight".

"I think we very much regret the pain and suffering the work is causing in our local community", Viso said. The sculpture was erected as part of the garden remodel.

More recently, however, Viso was at the center of a firestorm over a sculpture named "Scaffold" which depicted the gallows used to hang 38 Dakota Indian men in the wake of the U.S. -Dakota War of 1862. A protest delayed the garden's scheduled June reopening, and the Walker eventually agreed to dismantle the sculpture after talks with Dakota elders.

The controversy awkwardly coincided with the opening of a retrospective on the expatriate sculptor Jimmie Durham, whose claims to be of Cherokee descent are disputed by tribe members. "Adios Utopia", now on display at the museum, features art from Cuba.

"We wish her well for her next career opportunity", Board of Trustees President Monica Nassif said in a statement. That office will include the Walker's chief advancement officer, Christopher Stevens; its chief financial officer, Mary Polta; its senior curator and director of exhibitions management Siri Engberg; and its director of human resources, Rishi Donat.

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