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Scholar of Modern and Contemporary Art Named Dorsky Museum Curator

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03/24/2003

NEW PALTZ -- A noted scholar of modernism who has enjoyed a long professional association with the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Dr. Karl Willers joins the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at State University of New York at New Paltz as curator of exhibitions.

Willers began his career at the Whitney in the early 1980s under famed curator Barbara Haskell, and soon assumed a ten-year directorship of the museum's Downtown Branch at Federal Reserve Plaza in Lower Manhattan. The Downtown Branch served as a workshop for students in the museum's graduate Curatorial Studies Program, where Willers himself had trained after earning a degree in art history from The College of Wooster, Ohio, in 1980. Image As curator of the Whitney's Downtown Branch, he mounted several important exhibitions, including Made in the '60s, Mondrian to Modernism, and The Experience of Landscape: Three Decades of Sculpture.

His association with the museum continued until 1991, when he left to pursue a doctorate in art history at Yale University. There, he concentrated on European art, particularly early modernism, and wrote his dissertation on the 19th century French realist painter Gustave Courbet. A lifelong student of higher mathematics as well as art, Willers simultaneously completed an MBA at Yale's School of Management.

He rejoined the Whitney as associate curator and administrative coordinator between 1998 and 2000, helping mount The American Century II, a major exploration of art and culture in the United States and the largest exhibition ever presented at the museum.

Over the next few years, Willers worked as chief curator at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he coordinated European art exhibits, organizing several shows of 17th century French and German printmakers.

"I am delighted to welcome Karl Willers to the staff of the museum," said Dorsky Museum Director Neil C. Trager. "I am confident that his extensive knowledge of modern and contemporary art will significantly enhance the scope and depth of the SDMA's public programs, enabling us to better serve visitors from both on and beyond the New Paltz campus."

At the Dorsky Museum, Willers looks forward to working with students in an academic setting. "Much of my career has been involved with educational institutions," he said. "I especially value the exchange of ideas and perspectives that occurs between faculty, students and the larger community."

He will continue the museum's contemporary exhibition programming-such as the summer Hudson Valley Artists series, which highlights the work of mid-career artists-as well as initiate historical projects.

For more information about the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art please call 845-257-3844.

An image of Karl Willers is available for download at www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/willers100-03-03.html.

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The State University of New York at New Paltz is an institution of nearly 8,000 students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley halfway between New York City and Albany. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, healthcare, business and engineering.

More information about SUNY New Paltz is available online at www.newpaltz.edu