LA JOLLA — Madeleine Grynsztejn, associate curator of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, will leave the museum at the end of June to become an associate curator in the department of 20th-Century Painting and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Grynsztejn has served on the curatorial staff at the La Jolla-based museum since 1986, first as an assistant curator, then in her current role since 1988. She has organized and co-organized 16 shows for the museum during that time, including solo shows of artists Alfredo Jaar and Vernon Fisher, as well as "Satellite Intelligence: New Art From Boston and San Diego," in 1990, and "LA2DA: Six Emerging Los Angeles Artists," in 1987.
My decision (to leave) was a hard one; the opportunity was certainly one I shouldn't miss," Grynsztejn said Monday. "Also, there were personal reasons involved, involving my family." Grynsztejn and local businessman Tom Shapiro will be married in San Diego in June, and Shapiro will enter the University of Chicago's MBA program in the fall.
"San Diego has been very good to me, and the museum has been very gracious and good. It's obvious that I wouldn't have been able to become qualified for this position if Hugh (Davies, the museum's director) and the museum hadn't given me the opportunities that I've been given here."
Grynsztejn is now project coordinator of "Dos Ciudades/Two Cities," a series of exhibitions, public projects, lectures and events studying the U.S.-Mexico border region.
An exhibition titled "Barrier to Bridge/Linea a Puente: Art About the U.S./Mexico Border," co-organized with the Centro Cultural de la Raza, will be presented by the two institutions in March 1993, divided between the contemporary museum's new downtown space and the centro in Balboa Park.
Grynsztejn said she will not leave the project behind when she leaves town: "The projects will continue after my departure, including the border arts show, which I will continue to co-organize and co-manage with Patricio Chavez at the Centro Cultural de la Raza."
Last April, Grynsztejn received a $50,000 award from the Los Angeles-based Peter Norton Foundation to purchase artworks for the museum.
"The (money) is almost used up," she said. "The museum will be presenting the Norton acquisitions in its new downtown space this fall. I'd like to refrain from announcing the purchases until all of the money has been spent."
Davies expressed regret at Grynsztejn's departure: "We're all terribly proud that someone who has been with us for six years has been honored with being selected for this distinguished position. We're thrilled, but also we're going to miss her."
The departure comes at a time of transition for the museum; Davies said he is in the process of hiring a new education curator--a spot he hopes to fill by the end of June--and now will have to fill the associate curator's position immediately afterward.
"It gives us the opportunity to rebuild the department. There will be a greater emphasis given to education programs, as there should be, in the future, but we would like to get someone who will complement the person who becomes the education curator," Davies said.
"If we can get another Madeleine Grynsztejn, we'll all be happy."