Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Names Paul Baker Prindle as Director

by | May 1, 2024 | 0 comments

Paul Baker Prindle, a Wisconsin native and past contributor to Our Lives, has been named the new director of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (MMoCA). His official start date is May 9. He is replacing Christina Brungardt, who stepped down in 2023. While Brungardt brought about a lot of development and change, The Capital Times said she “brought in guest curators, helped coordinate the museum’s youth education programming, and expanded MMoCA’s permanent collection, including the installation of a limestone statue located outside the building by artist Faisal Abdu’Allah,” but has also weathered controversy when an exhibition featuring 23 Black women artists was left unsupervised and was subsequently vandalized.

Baker Prindle holds an MFA in printmaking and has images from his “Memento Mori” series, one in which he photographed places where LGBTQ individuals have been murdered, in MMoCA’s permanent collection. In addition to being an artist, he has spent many years as the head of the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach; and the Lilley Museum of Art at the University of Nevada, Reno before that.

A graduate of both UW-Madison and Edgewood College, his placement as head of MMoCA has been something of a homecoming. “My work is in the collection, I worked here, and I have a great many friends here,” he told an interviewer with The Capital Times. In response to the question of how the role of museums are changing, he stated, “It used to be that museums were places where you were very quiet, and you did not show up with headphones in, in jogging pants, with your buddies. They were highbrow.” He continues, “Museums originated as tools of the Empire, plain and simple. We can critique the institution, but also we have to remember that museums don’t run themselves. They’re made by people who work here, human beings who are fallible and make mistakes. What I want to bring to the museum is a values-driven practice that keeps the focus on a human scale, and works to be resonant with how we want to live with art.”

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