2012 is over, but “Looking Back,” which opened on Thursday, presents a compelling case for a bit of nostalgia. The exhibition features work shown in New York during the past year. Selecting is curator Richard Birkett of Artists Space, whose recent work includes fall’s fashionable Bernadette Corporation retrospective.
When Stefan Kalmár arrived at the alternative art space Artists Space in the summer of 2009 to become its executive director, he saw plenty of things that he wanted to change.
“The director’s office was a corner office with a vista,” Mr. Kalmár said earlier this month, with a touch of mockery, “symbolizing a petit-bourgeois notion of an institution. There was a real hierarchy.” The robust 41-year-old was wearing a tight sweater, torn near the elbows, over a collared shirt, and was sitting in Artists Space’s third-floor loft on Greene Street, pointing to where various rooms had been. “Next to me was the assistant to the director’s office, and then there was the development office. Like chicken hatches. In this corner was the boardroom, and here was storage and a facility room, and an archive. Everything that an organization doesn’t—shouldn’t—need.”