Austin Museum of Art-ArtHouse (known as AMOA-ArtHouse), a hybrid art institution situated at the edge of Lake Austin and in Downtown Austin, has a new leader. Louis Grachos was selected to direct AMOA-ArtHouse after a 7-month international search. Grachos, who directed the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, for the past decade, talks about his ideas for contemporary art programming and his aim to raise the national profile of Austin’s art scene.
On the greatest asset of AMOA-ArtHouse:
"In all honesty, the uniqueness of both sites really inspires artists to create new work," Grachos said. "The Jones Center [ArtHouse] has been retrofit many times in its history. It was once a theater, a retail store. The space was recently redesigned by Paul Lewis, an architect based in New York. It has a texture and feel to it that lends itself to experiential art that’s about installation, or different media—it’s a flexible building on that front. The fact that it’s in the heart of our city is really impressive. Laguna Gloria is one of the great visits you can make in the Austin area. It’s really very impressive to be around water. To have such a beautiful experience with nature and with art is a great opportunity for us."
On the most significant challenge:
"I think one of the challenges is clearly identifying to our community what we want to be and what we feel we can contribute to the cultural landscape of Austin," Grachos said. "My research and my thinking hard about the project here and how to take these two institutions that have really long histories and create something positioned for the 21st century. That is to have, in my mind, a kind of platform for artists—sometimes of international acclaim and sometimes emerging—that would propose projects that will bring new art to the community…That would help distinguish us as a contributing organization both here in Austin, and Texas, but also nationally, by being the facilitator of new work."