Interior of Water Mill’s Parrish Art Museum PHOTO BY GARY MAMAY
NEW TO THE PARRISH ART MUSEUM (PARRISHART.ORG) FAMILY IS MELANIE CRADER. WE SAT DOWN WITH THE NEWLY APPOINTED DEPUTY DIRECTOR TO HEAR ABOUT HER DESIGN VISIONS UNDER HER NEW ROLE.
Congratulations on the new role! What do you hope to bring to the Parrish? Thank you! I hope to bring a new enthusiasm and engagement to the many communities associated with the Parrish: our visitors, staff, trustees, and local and national organizational peers. I hope this enthusiasm leads to welcoming first-time visitors to the museum from the East End and beyond.
Installation view of the 2021 exhibition ROY LICHTENSTEIN: HISTORY IN THE MAKING, 1948-1960 PHOTO BY: GARY MAMAY
What initially made you enter the art world? I’ve given this question a lot of thought over the years. From a very young age, I was interested in art, and I think my interest has always stemmed from the belief that art provides a place for deep thinking and introspection. The fact that art continues to challenge our thinking is ultimately what keeps me intrigued. As far as a specific artist, there are way too many to list. But my first visit to the Menil Collection in Houston was a profound experience, and later I was lucky enough to work there.
What type of art pieces interest you the most? I love that interests and influences evolve over time—including my own over the decades. One unexpected example is my son, who pushes me to experience video works more and more. I would bring him to countless museums from infancy and we’d go from room to room looking at everything, but it was mostly still objects. Then he started dragging me to see his favorites, almost always video works, and he would initiate a complex dialogue with me. I love how he has encouraged me to approach things in new and different ways.
Exterior of Water Mill’s Parrish Art Museum. HAZEL HUTCHINS
How do you believe your artistic lens will alter the Parrish for the better? I came to art initially through the creative side, as an artist, but over the years I’ve discovered I also have a keen business sense. In other words, I can understand one’s artistic vision and I also have the experience to know what it takes to make it happen. In the museum world, art and business often feel like polar opposites, and to be successful, a museum needs a key person not only to bridge the two but to be able to map out and smooth the road ahead.
“In the museum world, art and business often feel like polar opposites, and to be successful, a museum needs a key person not only to bridge the two but to be able to map out and smooth the road ahead.” –MELANIE CRADER
What exhibitions are you most excited about?Set It Off, opening in May, is a group exhibition curated by Deux Femmes Noires, the dynamic curatorial duo comprised of Racquel Chevremont and Mickalene Thomas. It will showcase six artists who engage the monumental, site-specific or immersive in their practice. The perspective of Chevremont and Thomas raises important cultural conversations relative to the issues of today, and it is exciting to bring this work to the Parrish community.
Parrish Art Museum Deputy Director Melanie Crader PHOTO BY LENNY STUCKER
What do you see for the future of the Parrish? I see tremendous opportunity for the future of the Parrish, and I’m delighted to be part of a team that will launch the museum into a new era. We are coming up on two significant anniversaries: the 10th anniversary of our iconic building by Herzog & de Meuron this year and the 125th anniversary of the Parrish Art Museum in 2023. There is a lot to celebrate!