Daisy Nam, who arrived to Ballroom Marfa as a curator in 2020, will take over as executive director of the noncollecting Texas art institution, The Art Newspaper reports. The post is being vacated by Laura Copelin, who had occupied the position since 2019. Nam, who will continue to serve as curator as well, will step into her new role immediately.
I’m dedicated to supporting what the artists need, whether that’s space or research or connecting them with other people to create a body of work that we show here before it moves out into the world,” said Nam, who cast Ballroom Marfa’s brief as “expanding the reach of artists, allowing them to have different types of audiences and different experiences with other institutions. How do we build networks and build relationships with institutions that are similar to ours, or on a basic level how can we pool resources to support artists and envision the future of what they want to make?”
Before coming to Marfa, Nam since 2015 served as the assistant director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, during which time she curated exhibitions by artists including Basma Alsharif, Martin Beck, Matt Keegan, Renée Green, Michelle Lopez, Will Rawls, and Kerry Tribe. Prior to her tenure there, she was held the role of assistant director of public programs at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, in which capacity she organized and produced seven seasons of talks, screenings, performances, and workshops by Charles Atlas, Tania Bruguera, Nancy Holt, Isaac Julien, Ralph Lemon, Jill Magid, Aki Sasamoto, and Allan Sekula. She earlier worked on fundraising initiatives for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Established in 2002 as a nonprofit, Ballroom Marfa celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year. “What artists create here, they wouldn’t be able to do in studios or art venues in bigger cities,” said Nam, referring to Marfa’s tiny size (the town’s population hovers at under 2000) and to the arts organization’s policy of returning works to the artist freely following their display. “I think the nexus of where Ballroom is—physically, geographically, culturally—can really help artists push their practices in ways that a white cube can’t. It’s an art town of course, but there’s so much more to it that’s really special,” Nam says. “We want artists to take that experience with them.”