Date: March 19, 2007
Contact: Ora Simcha-Fagan
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4109
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, Illinois, March 19, 2007 - Geoffrey Bates was recently named the Director and Curator of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park at Governors State University in University Park, Illinois. Bates, who has served as the Associate Curator for Art at the Illinois State Museum (ISM) Lockport Gallery for the past eleven years, will begin his new responsibilities April 9.
Bates succeeds Dr. Ora Simcha-Fagan, who has been director of the park since 2003 and is retiring this spring. Under her leadership the park significantly increased the size of its collection and its visibility. The park added eight major works by international, as well as leading young and mid-career Illinois artists. The first stage of a comprehensive conservation program also was completed, readying the park for a renewed program of group tours and public art programs. A celebration of the park’s recent expansion took place in fall 2006.
As Director of the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, Bates will be charged with maintaining and furthering the collection of monumental contemporary sculpture, raising its profile, and building local educational programming and attendance. The park is one of a few first-rate, permanent sculpture parks in the country. Its collection contains numerous important works considered modern masterpieces, including Mark diSuvero’s Yes! For Lady Day (1969), earthworks such as Martin Puryear’s Bodark Arc and Mary Miss’ Field Rotation, both created in 1982, and House Divided (1983) by conceptual artist Bruce Nauman. Recently, three works by Illinois artists were unveiled: Christine Tarkowski’s Working on the Failed Utopia (2006), Tony Tasset’s monumental, painted fiberglass figure entitled Paul (2006), and Richard Rezac’s elegant, glazed ceramic post-minimalist work, Frame (2005).
“The Park is a remarkable cultural resource for the people of Illinois. With more than 100 acres of rolling prairie, it integrates major masterworks of the 20th century comfortably into the indigenous landscape and provides unique opportunities for reflection, relaxation, and contemplation. A primary goal will be broadening the park’s focus and building new audiences with imaginative programming,” said Bates.
Sculpture was a focus for Bates during his time at the I.S.M. Lockport Gallery. He curated several exhibits which highlighted the development of new media and expanded the audience for contemporary sculpture. The exhibits included Fire and Ice: The Sculpture of William Carlson and José Chardiet (1997), From Limb to Limb (1998), Not of Iron (2002), and Art in the Abstract (contributing curator, 2005). He has also authored several important articles on contemporary abstract art.
“It’s gratifying to know that the revitalized park will be in such good hands,” said Simcha-Fagan, current director of the park.