LINCOLN, MA.- DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park announced the resignation of Director of Curatorial Affairs Rachel Rosenfield Lafo today after nearly twenty-five years at this leading contemporary art museum. Lafo is leaving the Museum to pursue independent curatorial and writing projects. “I have decided to leave DeCordova because I realize that the Board and new Director seek a different creative direction for the Museum. After nearly twenty-five fulfilling years of leading the curatorial program at DeCordova it is time to move on to new challenges,” said Lafo. She will remain at DeCordova on a reduced schedule until November 1 to complete writing and exhibition projects and to ensure a smooth transfer of information.
Arriving in 1984 as DeCordova’s Senior Curator, Lafo was promoted to Director of Curatorial Affairs in 2001. She has been the administrative head of the curatorial department and is responsible for the development and implementation of exhibitions, collections care and management, and installations in the Sculpture Park . During Lafo’s tenure, the Museum expanded its exhibition program, publications, and loans to the Sculpture Park , raising the visibility of DeCordova as one of the primary contemporary art institutions in New England. Before coming to DeCordova, Lafo was Associate Curator at the Portland Art Museum, Oregon, and Administrative Assistant at the Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at Harvard University ’s Fogg Art Museum .
“Rachel has been a valuable member of the DeCordova community for many years,” said Museum Director Dennis Kois . “Her intellect and professionalism have helped build DeCordova into the nationally recognized institution that it is today. I join the Board and staff in wishing her well in her new curatorial and scholarly pursuits.”
Lafo is the lead curator on DeCordova’s current main exhibition, Drawn to Detail (on view through January 4, 2009 ). In addition, she organized numerous exhibitions, including Presumed Innocence: Photographic Perspectives of Children (February – April 2008), William Tucker: Horses (September 2006 – January 2007), Painting in Boston : 1950 – 2000 (organized with Curator Nick Capasso) (September 2002 – February 2003), and Photography in Boston : 1955 – 1985 (September 2000 – January 2001). In addition, Lafo has curated a variety of solo exhibitions featuring artists including Clara Wainwright, Scott Prior, Michael Mazur, Frank Gohlke, Gregory Amenoff, Gerry Bergstein, Mary Frank, Morgan Bulkeley, Allan Wexler, Marcy Hermansader, and Kenneth Snelson. Along with other DeCordova curators, she has also organized The DeCordova Annual Exhibition series (1989 – 2008), a concept which she initiated for the Museum, and many group exhibitions. Lafo is currently completing the exhibition Tabitha Vevers: Narrative Bodies, which will be on view at DeCordova from January 24 – May 17, 2009 .
Lafo leaves behind a strong team including Curator Nick Capasso, newly appointed Assistant Curator Dina Deitsch, and Curatorial Fellow Nina Gara Bozicnik . DeCordova will not be replacing Lafo immediately, as the Museum will use this important staff change as an opportunity to begin a long range planning process for the curatorial department. In the interim, Curator Nick Capasso will provide administrative leadership for the department, managing curatorial operations.