Episode 210: Madeleine Grynsztejn

September 7, 2009 · Print This Article

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This week: Duncan and Richard talk to Madeleine Grynsztejn, the new Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago!

Stolen liberally from the MCA website, with a bit of BAS embellishment:

Grynsztejn was born in Lima, Peru, and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and London, England. She studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and received her BA in art history and French from Newcomb College of Tulane University, and her MA in art history from Columbia University. She is a former Helena Rubenstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and a 2007 graduate of the Getty Foundation’s Museum Leadership Institute. Grynsztejn has written, lectured, and taught extensively on contemporary art. She served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Galeria de Arte Nacional in Caracas, among other agencies. She acted as a juror for the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the American Academy in Rome, the Munich Kunstpreis in Germany, and the Tiffany Foundation Biennial Awards. She has also served on the advisory committees for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the American Center in Paris. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French. Her husband, Tom Shapiro, is a marketing consultant and a damn nice guy. Yes, Bad at Sports added the “damn nice guy” part, the MCA would never be so inappropriately casual in a blurb! How dare us. The nerve! It’s true though, he really is nice.
Madeleine Grynsztejn
Carnegie Museum of Art
Art Institute of Chicago
William Kentridge
James Welling
Ellsworth Kelly
Chuck Close
San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art
The Whitney Biennial
American Paintings and Sculpture at AIC
Venice Biennale
Julie Rodrigues Widholm
Vera Klement
Judy Ledgerwood
Olafur Eliasson
Melanie Schiff
Adam Ekberg
Lynne Warren
Jeff Koons
Roger Brown
Jim Nutt
Ed Paschke
Walker Art Center
Gordon Matta-Clark retrospective
Dan Flavin
Pictures to be Read, Poetry to Be Seen
Art By Telephone
Richard Hamilton
Bob Fitzpatrick
Jenny Holzer
Melissa Harris-Lacewell
Tania Bruguera
Glenn Ligon
Jim Cuno
Art Fag City
Paddy Johnson
Elizabeth Smith
Francesco Bonami
Rudolph Stingel
Luc Tuymans
Wexner Center for the Arts
Helen Molesworth
Fogg Museum
Liam Gillick
Dominic Molon
Alexander Calder

5 thoughts on “Episode 210: Madeleine Grynsztejn”

  1. Darrell Roberts says:

    Informative interview, thanks guys!

  2. Bad at Sports says:


  3. The Shark says:

    Chicago as context: ” a strong ethical backbone, the right place to talk about what’s important today-”

    The MCA: ‘playing a bigger role-art, ideas, conversation with visual art at its center’…….

    Every artist in Chicago should listen closely to this particular BAS conversation – Madeleine Grynsztejn, our new director at our museum, just scores a knockout in this marvelous interview. Really (at least from my perspective,) hitting all the right notes. Duncan, Richard, in all of your bumbling mayhem, I have never heard you do what it is you do, better. Congratulations.

    To once more lapse into redundancy and yet again here at BAS, ask my favorite philosophical question ‘what is the nature of legitimate authority?’ with my notion of an answer being an aristotelian one -that good living begets good thought/ethics and so on, or simply, that action speaks louder than words. For me, the Constellation Exhibition is an action, and a bold one at that. A good one. It is a new time.

    As for the MCA getting its message out, this is the solution…we need a new wing for the museum -its simple! A cyber wing. The worlds first serious online museum wing -no need to drag the studio for instance, into the museum space -simply expand, make the existing studio part of the MCA -or ten studios! ….in a cyber construct complete with a symbiotic analog component (open studio -or any venue) -interdisciplinary-its viral nature opens up the possibility of housing any event/events appropriate-and any number of them, simultaneously.

    ..the next few years will get really interesting -how are we to have conversation when for instance, both of our major newsparers will apparently, soon be gone. (Not to mention the perhaps inevitable decline of art magazines-.) What will the theater world do to make my point, -when Chris Jones and Hedy Weiss -arguably the two most important, influential theater critics in the world today -(with the NYTimes critics following their lead -think August Osage County)…what will happen when neither of these people have a local platform from which to write? Is it possible that this new cyber/imaginary wing I mention could provide critical infrastructure?

    Infrastructure -its always been our achilles heel here -we lack the publishing industry of NYC and the film world of LA…….which is why!#$#%&% having the first serious cyber annex makes so much sense -in terms of creating, and I quote the director, “a civic sphere” an infrastructure that gets Art created here in Chicago, out into the world.

    Anyway thank you Madeleine, Duncan and Richard for this…..now, if only we weren’t in the midst of this recession, were comfortable with more time to think, make better art…..with more time to luxuriate! Its all very …………..existential.

  4. I agree. Madeleine outlined some very important ideas. This is a timely interview in a very significant way.

  5. Gina Beavers says:

    A chilly night in the studio listening to this interview, but warmed up by all the hot air coming out of my ipod speakers on this one!:) (not your fault, guys!)

    The MCA reaches out to Chicago artists by employing them as docents and educators? Do they employ them in the cafeteria too? There are many venues that employ Chicago artists (Houlihans employed this artist when I lived in Chicago) that doesn’t mean they’re reaching out to them! I mean, right?

    Also, I forget the exact quotation, but she said something along the lines of ‘artists need to be comfortable to make art’ And her definition of comfortable is…(?)and the evidence for this statement is…(?) I mean I think of the generation of Jewish artists who had to flee Germany and continued to make work through the war, the artists who made ground-breaking work through the depression. Let alone say, the entire history of music, from country and blues to hip-hop and punk! Maybe I’m losing it…

    Finally, far be it for me to defend Moma, but they show a lot of International artists, including Eliasson, whose show is coming to the MCA this year.

    I don’t know, I’m sure she’s doing some great things, but I feel just a little bit dumber after this (again, not your fault guys, you are awesome, as always!!:))

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