Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) Associate Director, Curator and Educator Dr. Sara Cochran has been appointed the Museum’s interim director and curator. Cochran will begin her new responsibilities on May 18, 2015, taking over from SMoCA Director Dr. Timothy Rodgers, who has announced his resignation. Cochran and Rodgers will work together in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition.
“Sara Cochran brings extraordinary qualifications to SMoCA, and we are thrilled that she has accepted this new position,” remarked Scottsdale Cultural Council President and CEO Neale Perl. “Sara’s impressive museum experience, years of involvement in the arts community and international perspective make her the ideal choice to lead SMoCA. I know she will do an outstanding job.”
“SMoCA is a young institution with a gifted staff and an amazing record of accomplishments,” said Cochran. “It has been a privilege to work closely with Tim Rodgers and to learn from him during the past year. I am excited to take up the position of interim director and curator, and to work with the staff towards a bright future that continues SMoCA’s tradition of award-winning exhibitions and innovative programming.”
Since joining SMoCA in February 2014, Cochran has led the Museum’s curatorial and education departments, working with Rodgers and the staff on exhibition development, educational programming and the SMoCA docent program. Among her recent projects are the exhibition southwestNET: Postcommodity, which featured two monumental installations by the indigenous arts collective of Raven Chacon, Cristobal Martínez, Kade L. Twist and Nathan Young; and Street Art Moves Inside as part of the May 2 SMoCA Mix benefit, which showcased site-specific murals created by 12 artists, including Lalo Cota, Pablo Luna, Mando Rascon, Thomas “Breeze” Marcus and Angel Diaz.
From 2008 to 2013, Cochran served as curator of modern and contemporary art at the Phoenix Art Museum, where she produced 15 exhibitions, published eight catalogues, organized 42 public programs and acquired more than 200 works of art for the permanent collection. From 2004 to 2008, she worked at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was involved with four exhibitions: Franz West, To Build a House You Start with the Roof: Work, 1972–2008 (2009), Dali: Painting and Film(2007), Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images (2006) and David Hockney Portraits (2006). Previously, she worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on the exhibition Premises: Invested Spaces in Visual Arts, Architecture and Design from France: 1958–1998.
Cochran received her doctorate in 2005 from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, writing on the late painting of Francis Picabia. She also holds a master’s and diploma of advanced studies (DEA) in art history from Universite Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) in France. She has taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School, Arizona State University and Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, and has published and lectured in both French and English.
Cochran is currently participating in the 2015 Getty Leadership Institute’s Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders.