Amy Sadao, who has shepherded the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania through seven years and dozens of exhibitions, many focused on what she called “underrepresented and overlooked” artists, has resigned.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Sadao, 47, said that she intended in the immediate future to pursue a book project that “will examine the efforts to redefine the evolving roles and responsibilities of museums across the country.”
During her tenure at ICA, she said, she focused on curatorial excellence, community partnerships, and the experience of visitors and artists.
“I was guided by questions of what a feminist, anti-racist, queer- and trans-embracing contemporary museum would look, feel, and act like,” she said. “It’s only right that a new director creates the next strategic plan. I am excited to experience the next iteration of ICA.”
During her tenure, ICA presented many artists who would meet the definition of “overlooked.” The work of Tony Conrad, for instance, was featured this winter.
Inquirer art critic Thomas Hine noted that “these works were long unseen.... They have changed over time, though nobody would be patient enough to sit for 46 years and watch how it happened. This show, and Conrad himself, demand patience. It is not visually seductive. You don’t see it and get it instantly. But if you see it with the kind of playful intensity the artist embodied and encouraged in others, you will be glad you were introduced to Tony Conrad.”
Wendell Pritchett, Penn provost, named John McInerney ICA’s interim director. McInerney is currently executive director of Penn’s Sachs Program for Arts Innovation and will continue in that role as well.