Susan Sollins, Art21 and ICI Founder, Has Died


Susan Sollins, cofounder and executive director emerita of Independent Curators International and founder and executive director of Art21, died on Oct. 13. The cause of her death has not yet been announced; nor has her age or year of birth.

Sollins was executive director of Art21, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public knowledge of contemporary art, which she founded in 1997. She executive produced the biennial documentary PBS series “Art:21-Art in the Twenty-First Century” (2001-ongoing), now in its seventh season, for which she received a Peabody Award (2007). Her 2010 feature-length film William Kentridge: Anything is Possible also received a Peabody Award.

Along with curator Nina Sundell (1936-2014), Sollins cofounded Independent Curators Incorporated, now Independent Curators International (ICI), in 1975. During her tenure as director at ICI, a nonprofit organization that organizes traveling contemporary art exhibitions, 75 shows featuring over 1,700 artists traveled to more than 360 institutions in Europe and North America.

Prior to joining Art21, Sollins was curator of education at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and a visual arts consultant for Thirteen WNET’s Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning arts magazine City Arts. In 2008, she won the Skowhegan Governors Award for Outstanding Service to Artists.

Most recently, Sollins served on the panel that awarded the ArtPrize Grand Juried Prize. Sollins also served on the boards of ICI, the MacDowell Colony and the CBG Foundation, and has been a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and New York’s Percent for Art program. As the wife of late composer Earle Brown, Sollins additionally acted as president of the Earle Brown Music Foundation.