The Marciano Art Foundation, founded by mega-collectors and Guess founders Paul and Maurice Marciano, has appointed Hanneke Skerath as director, a newly created position. She began working for the Los Angeles–based foundation last month.

The Marciano Art Foundation was founded in 2013, when the Marciano brothers purchased a former masonic temple on Wilshire Boulevard, not far from LA’s Miracle Mile. It opened to the public in 2017, with an exhibition drawing from the brothers’ blue-chip holdings, including pieces by Sterling Ruby, Christopher Wool, Albert Oehlen, and Mike Kelley.

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But, the foundation closed its doors abruptly in November 2019, saying at the time, “We have no present plans to reopen.” The foundation had laid off some 60 employees, many from its visitor services department, just days after 70 employees had announced a union drive. At the time, the union claimed on social media that the foundation’s sudden closing was due to the unionization efforts, calling the layoffs “a gross obstruction of workers’ rights.” Shortly afterward, the union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board and the laid-off employees filed a lawsuit against the foundation, which was settled in July 2020 for around $205,000 to the workers and $70,000 in legal fees.

In the interim, the Marciano Art Foundation’s building has been activated by a select number of exhibitions by outside organizations. The most prominent of these is by Gagosian gallery; the Marcianos are longtime clients of the gallery. Between 2021 and 2023, Gagosian mounted three solo shows at the foundation for Oehlen, Urs Fischer, and Anselm Kiefer. Additionally, in 2022, LAXART (now called the Brick) mounted a two-night program at the space, and last fall, LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) staged an opera by Justen Leroy in its theater space.

In a statement to ARTnews, a spokesperson for the foundation said, “Following a period of prolonged closure brought on by the pandemic, Marciano Art Foundation determined that it was important to make use of this historic building by donating it to partner organizations for them to realize unique projects and public programs on an ongoing basis, alongside allowing access to the collection–beyond educational groups–for free and by appointment as part of a new, scaled down model.”

In addition to growing, managing, and mounting exhibitions of the Marciano collection, part of Skerath’s charge, per a press release, is to lead the organization’s “efforts to lend its historic Wilshire Boulevard building to non-profit organizations and various other creatives to realize unique projects and public programs on an ongoing basis. This new direction will allow MAF to operate under this renewed commitment to the public.” (According to the spokesperson, Skerath will review the foundation’s staffing needs over the coming months and “advise on the best direction for the Foundation’s long-term future.”)

In a statement, Skerath said, “I’m excited to join the Marciano Art Foundation as Director, and I look forward to collaborating with the team to continue to expand and exhibit the collection and to explore new creative opportunities for the Foundation’s unique spaces.”

In February, the foundation presented its first official collection exhibition since its closure, “Transmissions: Selections from the Marciano Collection,”co-curated by Douglas Fogle and Skerath. The Marciano Art Foundation now maintains regular public hours, Tuesday to Saturday, from 12pm to 6pm; admission is free but visitors are required to reserve a time slot to come to the foundation.

Skerath has been an independent curator and writer for a decade. With Fogel, she cofounded a curatorial enterprise named Studio LBV. Through that company, the duo served as founding artistic directors of Palomar, a private foundation on Lake Como in Italy, and they also edited the 2021 volume Making Strange: The Chara Schreyer Collection, focused on the late California collector’s holdings.

Additionally, her curatorial credits include “Friends in a Field: Conversations with Raoul De Keyser” at MuZEE in Ostend, Belgium; a solo exhibition for Shio Kusaka at LA’s Neutra VDL Studio and Residences; and group exhibitions at Thomas Dane Gallery, Marc Selwyn Gallery, and Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery.

In a statement, Olivia Marciano, who has previously held the role of the foundation’s artistic director, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Hanneke Skerath to the Marciano Art Foundation. As we place our focus on fostering a collaborative creative environment for the Los Angeles community, Hanneke’s extensive experience could not be more fitting. In her years working in L.A. she has worked across both traditional and unconventional contexts, demonstrating her distinct talent to realize projects that prioritize collaboration, insight, and rigor.”