Please join us in welcoming Marshall Price, who joined the Nasher Museum’s curatorial team this month. Marshall was appointed to the newly created position of as Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. He came to the museum from New York, where he has been curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Academy Museum for the past 11 years. He’s from Silver Spring, MD. At the Nasher Museum, Price will organize new exhibitions and programs and take a leading role with Duke faculty and students on special projects. Marshall’s appointment rounds out the curatorial team led by Trevor Schoonmaker, Chief Curator and Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher Curator of Contemporary Art.
Following is an interview between Trevor Schoonmaker and Marshall Price.
Trevor Schoonmaker: Welcome to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina!
Marshall Price: Thanks, Trevor, I’m looking forward to getting to know the area and working with all the folks at the Nasher Museum.
TS: You’re joining the museum the same week that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament starts. Are you ready for the madness here in college hoops?!
MP: Absolutely, I’m delighted to be in such a hoops-crazy town, bring it on.
TS: Having worked in New York for the past ten years, we’d love to hear your impression of the Nasher Museum. What did you know about the museum before you visited?
MP: Its reputation preceded it, for sure. I remember hearing about the Viñoly building in architecture circles after it opened and thought it looked like a gorgeous space. But, in my mind, it was your show on Barkley’s work that established it as a significant museum with serious aspirations.
TS: When did you realize that you wanted to become a curator? And what was your first job in the art world?
MP: I came into museum work by chance. I always thought I would be an academic. After finishing my MA I was lucky enough to land a job as curatorial assistant at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and cut my teeth there. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a much better fit than academia.
TS: Who are some of the people who have mentored you or inspired you in your curatorial work?
MP: I’ve had several professors over the years, but in Santa Barbara the chief curator, Robert Henning, was a tremendous inspiration. I also worked for a somewhat legendary art and antique dealer in California, Gary Breitweiser, who taught me an enormous amount about objects and connoisseurship.
TS: Tell us a little about one of your favorite exhibitions that you’ve curated.
MP: There have been several. In 2008 I organized a retrospective of George Tooker’s work that was on view just before he received the Presidential Medal of Arts and soon before he died. A couple years ago I organized a John Cage exhibition and installed it using Cage’s signature “chance operations” method—that was a blast. Most recently I worked with Jeffrey Gibson, a Native American artist, on his first New York museum exhibition.
TS: Name one of your favorite exhibitions that you’ve seen in the past 10 years that you did not curate.
MP: Surprisingly, I was completely seduced by the Alexander McQueen show at the Met a couple years ago. Also, the de Kooning show at MoMA was a total knockout.
TS: If you could purchase any work of art for the Nasher Museum collection, what would you choose?
MP: Is that a trick question?! I would love to get a large Abstract Expressionist painting for the collection…ideally, a de Kooning…I suppose I can dream. Fortunately, the Nasher’s collection is growing and I look forward to working with the staff on fostering this growth.
TS: What sorts of things do you like to do outside of the art world?
MP: I’ve had a taste of the outdoors here, but I’m looking forward to getting out and exploring the countryside of North Carolina, for sure.
TS: What’s your favorite Southern food? Southern music?
MP: That is definitely a trick question. Both of those things run deep here, I know, and both were a big draw for me. Southern culture comes in all shapes, sizes, flavors, and sounds. I look forward to experiencing as much as I can.