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New Director and New Curator Announced for UB Art Galleries

University at Buffalo Art Galleries is pleased to announce new appointment of Robert Scalise as Director and Liz Park as Curator. Robert Scalise has been promoted to Director this summer following the past three years of leading UB Art Galleries in an acting capacity and eighteen years of service in a number of positions. As Acting Director, Scalise expanded the UB Art Galleries’ permanent collection and secured significant acquisitions valued at over $5,000,000. A recipient of the prestigious SUNY Chancellor’s Award of Excellence for his leadership in building the Cravens World open-storage collection, Scalise has focused his energy on cultivating donors and engaging communities. Scalise also led the development of the Connect Gallery with support from Conventus on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus as a community art space in a citywide outreach effort.

Previously, as Assistant Director for Exhibitions and Collections, he played a key role in establishing UB Art Galleries’ policies and procedures as a university gallery and art museum. Scalise praised the former director Sandra Olsen who retired in 2016 for laying the foundation for UB Art Galleries to grow, and credits the university administration for the sustaining support. He stated, “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity, and I thank our dean Robin Schulze for her continued support.” Schulze commended Scalise for doing “a terrific job improving UB collections and raising the profile of the galleries. He is a joy to work with—a wonderfully creative and collaborative force. He is the right person to move the galleries forward.”

With over two decades of museum experience, Scalise has curated over thirty exhibitions and executed key collections driven projects at UB Art Galleries. Most recently, he organized Take Five, WOMEN in ABSTRACTION, Sam Richardson: Intimate Landscape, Claire Falkenstein: Time Elements, and The Language of Objects. Active in the Western New York arts community, Scalise has served on boards and committees with Roswell Park’s Alliance Art Committee, Western New York Book Arts Center, and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center. Scalise regularly lectures on exhibition planning and design as well as collections care and management. “I’m looking forward to work on increasing our impact and to expand our reach by offering experiential learning opportunities for our students at UB, collaborating with faculty, and engaging our diverse communities of Western New York.”

As Director, Scalise had the pleasure of hiring and welcoming Liz Park as the new Curator of Exhibitions at UB Art Galleries this fall. The interdisciplinary search committee comprised of staff and faculty selected Park for her curatorial acumen and collaborative spirit. Scalise stated, “We are thrilled and extremely fortunate to have Liz Park join our team. She comes to us with significant contemporary art experience and an understanding of what it means to be in an academic museum environment. Liz brings new energy to our staff, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing her lead our exhibitions program to new heights.”

As Curator of Exhibitions, Park will conceptualize and implement UB Art Galleries’ program of contemporary art with a commitment to reflecting a range of artistic practices and diverse perspectives that speak to urgent questions that concern working artists today. A Korean-born Canadian curator hailing from Vancouver, Park joins UB from Pittsburgh where she recently completed a three-year term as Associate Curator of the 2018 Carnegie International alongside Curator Ingrid Schaffner at Carnegie Museum of Art. Park was responsible for all aspects of organizing the International including programs and educational initiatives, and worked closely with artists such as Park McArthur, IM Heung-soon and Han Kang, Saba Innab, Postcommodity, and Tavares Strachan.

Previously, Park held the Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellowship at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, where she curated a group exhibition exploring the question of how to look for traces of the past in the dark, featuring artists Deanna Bowen, Harold Mendez, and Gregory Sholette; and alongside the curatorial team at ICA, curated five fast-rotating exhibitions in celebration of the institute’s 50th anniversary. As part of the fellowship, Park also worked with the poet Kenneth Goldsmith and art historian Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw to lead hands-on seminars on contemporary art for undergraduate students.

Prior to coming to the US as a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2011, Park held a number of curatorial positions in Vancouver, where she also received an MA in Critical Curatorial Studies at the University of British Columbia. As an independent curator, she has guest-curated exhibitions that explored violence and photography, migration and moving images, and mourning and burial. She participated in residency programs in Seoul, Korea, Toronto, Canada, and Woodstock, New York, and received research, travel, and exhibition project grants from Canada Council for the Arts. As an active writer, Park has contributed to many exhibition catalogues, journals, and anthologies including Afterall Online, Afterimage, ArtAsiaPacific, Performa Magazine, Fillip, Yishu: A Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art among others.

“I am inspired by the university’s robust intellectual legacy and the galleries’ impressive record of ambitious exhibitions. I look forward to working across disciplines with new colleagues both on and off campus, with openness and sensitivity to the collective needs of Buffalo’s many overlapping communities,” said Park. Drawing on her broad interests, Park plans to deliver a dynamic program that explores art’s capacity to engage with the world through exhibitions and dialogue-driven programs. A passionate advocate for art, Park joins UB at a time of renewed commitment to creative activities and campus-wide collaboration.

“It’s an exciting time to be in Buffalo and at UB. With the recently established UB Arts Collaboratory under Bronwyn Keenan, UB Art Galleries looks to be a key partner in explaining the arts at the University. We will work to make UB an arts destination,” remarked Scalise. As the flagship campus of the State University of New York, UB is home to distinguished researchers, scientists, theorists, and public intellectuals as well as renowned professionals in their respective fields. Keenan, Director of Arts Collaboratory, added, “We are thrilled that the Arts Collaboratory is welcomed and embraced by Buffalo’s arts and culture communities. The tremendous encouragement and participation we’ve garnered so far allow us to continue this work.”