Karl Willers

Work History

Work History
2009 - Present

Independent Curator and Art Writer

Exhibition and Consulting Projects

  • Contributed essay on the visual arts at Yaddo for exhibition at New York Public Library.
  • Organized publication on recent series of photographic works by sculptor and painter Robert Hite.
  • Wrote, designed, and published catalogue for exhibition of installations by Rimer Cardillo.
2010 - Present

Director

Nassau County Museum of Art

  • As chief executive officer, oversee all programs and administration, including budgets and finances.
  • As chief programming officer, propose and implement ambitious schedule of exhibitions and events.
  • Raise support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government for all public programs.
  • Organize major exhibitions and special programs, including "Milton Avery & the End of Modernism.
  • Advance the process of institutional accreditation with the American Association of Museums (AAM).
2009 - 2009

BA Candidate in Art History

The College of Wooster
  • Conservation Intern and Curatorial Assistant, The College of Wooster Art Museum, 1980.
  • Curatorial Intern, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York, 1979.
  • Photographic Archival Assistant, Asia Institute of Pahlavi University, Shiraz, Iran, 1978.
  • Assistant to the Preparator, Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee, 1977.
2006 - 2008

Executive Director

Newport Art Museum & Art Association
  • As chief executive officer, oversaw all administrative and programming ventures, including finances.
  • Doubled endowments from $1 million to $2 million, including curatorial and conservation funds.
  • Hired and trained ten new staff members, professionalizing and streamlining personnel responsibilities.
  • Expanded development office and secured over $1 million in annual foundation and grant support.
  • Reorganized and outsourced public relations, facilities rentals, and special events operations.
  • Established and inaugurated permanent collection galleries in restored historic landmark building.
  • Funded and organized major exhibitions, including COLLECTOR: The Collection of Elizabeth Brooke Blake.
  • Actively spearheaded consortium of local nonprofits for joint ticketing and public relations ventures.
2003 - 2005

Curator

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz
  • Conceptualized, developed, and implemented series of successful exhibitions and related programs.
  • Authored and managed publication of scholarly catalogues, including Rimer Cardillo: Impressions.
  • Raised $250,000 from private sources for Jamie Bennett retrospective, and contributed catalogue essay.
2001 - 2002

Fundraising Consultant

The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Inc.
  • Raised $75,000 as Co-Chair of inaugural Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (ISP) Benefit.
  • Advised and planned long-range capital campaign for Whitney Museum ISP Endowment Fund.
  • Organized comprehensive fundraising database for Whitney Museum ISP Alumni Association.
2000 - 2001

Chief Curator and Curator of European Art

Norton Museum of Art
  • Oversaw joint curatorial and education department, managing $2.5 million annual budget.
  • Supervised fifteen professionals including curators, registrars, educators, and installation staff.
  • Organized innovative permanent collection and loan exhibitions, with emphasis in European art.
  • Coordinated curatorial operations in the fields of Chinese, American and Contemporary Art.
1998 - 2000

Associate Curator and Administrative Coordinator

Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Co-organized the millenial exhibition The American Century, Part II: Art and Culture 1950-2000.
  • Oversaw $2 million programming budget for largest exhibition of American art ever mounted.
  • Coordinated team of seven museum curators, one guest curator, and extensive support staff.
  • Planned installation of works from early 1950s Abstract Expressionism to mid 1970s Post-Minimalism.
1991 - 1998

PhD Candidate in Art History / MBA Candidate in Nonprofits and Investments

Yale Graduate School / Yale School of Management
  • Organizational Consultant, The McKinney Avenue Contemporary, Dallas, Texas, 1995.
  • Teaching Assistant, History of Art Department, Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut, 1992–93.
  • Marsha Brady Tucker Fellow, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 1991–92.
1981 - 1991

Director, Downtown Branch at Federal Reserve Plaza

Whitney Museum of American Art

Promoted from Manager, 1987; from Assistant Manager, 1983

  • Oversaw construction and opening of new $1 million museum facility in New York’s financial district.
  • Supervised all branch museum operations and programs, budgeted at $650,000 in annual support.
  • Hired three full-time museum professionals, and coordinated teamwork between museum locations.
  • Served as liaison to corporate sponsors and as museum spokesperson in Lower Manhattan community.
  • Trained over 100 graduate-level participants in museum’s prestigious Curatorial Studies Program.
  • Organized many exhibitions, while managing the production and installation of five shows each year.

Education

Education
1991 - 1998

Ph.D. 1998, M.Phil. 1996, M.A. 1993

Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Doctoral thesis, “Courbet’s Sources 1848–1855.”  Awards and fellowships:

  • University Fellowship, 1991–92.
  • Rose Herrick Jackson Fund, American Arts Internship, Yale University Art Gallery, 1991–92.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, summer 1992.
  • Yale University Fellowship, 1992–93.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Dissertation Fellowship, summer 1993.
  • West European Studies / Foreign Language and Area Studies Grant, 1993–94.
  • Yale Graduate School Teaching Fellowship, 1993–94.
  • Lehman Fund Award, summer 1994.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, 1994–95.
  • Yale University Fellowship, 1996–97.
  • Research Fund for Lesbian and Gay Studies, Yale University, 1997.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, 1997–98.
1976 - 1980

B.A. 1980

The College of Wooster

Senior thesis, “The Art of Milton Avery.”  Awards and fellowships:

  • The Netta Strain Scott Prize in Art History, fall 1979.
  • Departmental Honors in Art, 1980.
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1980.

Publications

“Drawing Out Ideas,” essay in Edge of the Sublime: Enamels of Jamie Bennett, exhibition catalogue authored by Jeannine Falino, Patricia C. Philips, and Karl Emil Willers (Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, Inc., 2008).

COLLECTOR: The Collection of Elizabeth Brooke Blake, exhibition catalogue and portfolio, with photographs by Josef Astor and interview with Elizabeth Brooke Blake by Roderick O’Hanley and Karl Emil Willers (Newport, Rhode Island: Newport Art Museum & Art Association, 2007).

“The play of sunlight and shadow…,” introductory essay in Water to Water: Maine and Rhode Island in the Paintings of David Dewey, exhibition catalogue, with essays by Nancy Whipple Grinnell and Karl Emil Willers (Newport, Rhode Island: Newport Art Museum & Art Association, 2006).

Rimer Cardillo: Impressions (and other images of memory), exhibition catalogue, online at http://www.rimercardillo.com/dorsky/dor_essay_willers.htm (New Paltz, New York: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2004)

Milton Avery and the End of Modernism, a series of lectures accompanying the exhibition Milton Avery: Works from the Collection of the Neuberger Museum of Art at SUNY Purchase (New Paltz, New York: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz, expected 2004).

Out of the Studio: Hudson Valley Artists 2004, exhibition catalogue (New Paltz, New York: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2003).

Alice Neel’s Feminist Portraits: Women Artists, Writers, Activists and Intellectuals, exhibition catalogue co-authored with Denise Bauer (New Paltz, New York: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2003).

Out of the Studio: Hudson Valley Artists 2003, exhibition catalogue (New Paltz, New York: Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz, 2003).

Innovations in Printmaking: The Work of Jacques Callot, exhibition brochure (West Palm Beach, Florida: Norton Museum of Art, 2000).

“Picnic Scene in the Woods by Samuel S. Carr,” “Hiding in the Old Oak by John George Brown,” and “The Listener by William McGregor Paxton,” three essays in A Private View: American Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, exhibition catalogue (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Art Gallery, 1993).

Between Mondrian and Minimalism: Neo-Plasticism in America, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1991).

The Experience of Landscape: Three Decades of Sculpture, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1989).

The Gestural Impulse 1945–1960, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1989).

Michelle Stuart's Books,” essay in Michelle Stuart, exhibition catalogue (Wooster, Ohio: The College of Wooster Art Museum, 1989).

Made in the Sixties, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1988).

“Guy Pêne du Bois,” essay in Spectators of Life: Guy Pêne du Bois and John Sloan, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1983).

“Tatyana Grosman and Universal Limited Art Editions,” annotated chronology in Universal Limited Art Editions: A Tribute to Tatyana Grosman, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1982).

“Art Works Produced in Prison,” essay with Micki McGee in The Prison Show: Realities and Representations, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1981).

“An Interview with Roy Lichtenstein,” interview co-conducted with Nan Rosenthal and William Quinn in Roy Lichtenstein Graphic Work 1970–1980, exhibition brochure (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1981).

Presentations

Newcombe College, New Orleans, Louisiana, Department of Art and Art History, “The Experience of Landscape: Three Decades of American Sculpture,” slide lecture, August 29, 1999.

Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, “The Gestural Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Painting in America 1945–1960,” slide lecture, April 10, 2000.

Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, “Between Mondrian and Minimalism: Neo-Plasticism in America,” slide lecture, October 15, 2000.

Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, “The Triumph of French Painting: Works from the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Gallery,” press presentation, January 3, 2001.

Palm Beach Rotary Club, West Palm Beach, Florida, “An American in Europe: The Photography Collection of the Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim,” slide presentation, April 3, 2001.

Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida, Gainesville, “The Experience of Landscape: Three Decades of American Sculpture,” slide lecture, November 29, 2001.

University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, “The Experience of Landscape: Three Decades of American Sculpture,” slide lecture, January 29, 2002.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, “The Experience of Landscape: Three Decades of American Sculpture,” slide lecture, February 26, 2002.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Department of Art, “The Experience of Landscape: Three Decades of American Sculpture,” slide lecture, April 22, 2002.

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, “Curatorial Practice in the University Art Museum,” slide lecture, October 22, 2002.