Infusing the Phillips with Contemporary Art

The Phillips Collection’s Director of Contemporary Art Initiatives and Academic Affairs Dr. Vesela Sretenovic is departing the museum after nearly 15 years of distinguished service and curatorial accomplishments to pursue independent curating, writing, and teaching. Sretenović began her tenure at the Phillips in January 2009 as Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the first curatorial position of its kind at the museum. During her tenure, she bolstered the museum’s engagement with contemporary art through innovative and vibrant exhibitions, programs, acquisitions, partnerships, and more. Notably, Sretenović created Intersections, a series of contemporary art projects in which artists—national, international, emerging, and established—were invited to engage with the museum’s permanent collection and historic architecture and create new work(s).

Here we look back at some of the dynamic and bold exhibitions and initiatives that Vesela organized for the Phillips.

Vesela Sretenović and Zilia Sánchez in San Juan preparing for Sánchez’s retrospective Soy Isla (2018)

Ellsworth Kelly: Panel Paintings 2004-2009 (2013), curated by Vesela Sretenović. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

The unveiling of Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi’s Something discernible in the hollow space of its absence (2022), acquired through the Contemporaries Acquisition Fund, led by Vesela Sretenović.

Los Carpinteros with part of their Intersections installation Cuba Va! (2019). Photo: Carl Nard

Vesela Sretenovic with Intersections artists at the opening of Intersections@5 (2015), celebrating 5 years of Intersections

Vesela Sretenović with Intersections artists at the opening of Intersections@5 (2015), celebrating 5 years of Intersections.

Vesela Sretenović with Bettina Pousttchi’s Intersections installation Double Monuments (2016). Photo: Rhiannon Newman

Vesela Sretenović with Alyson Shotz’s Intersections installation Ecliptic (2011). Photos: Sue Ahn

Bernardi Roig’s The Man of the Light (2005) from his Intersections installation NO/Escape (2014)

Daniel Canogar’s Digital Intersections project Amalgama Phillips (2021) in the Goh Annex Stairwell

Performance at the conclusion of Sanford Biggers’s Intersections installation Mosaic (2021)

Opening for Linling Lu’s Intersections installation Soundwaves (2023), with a conversation between the artist and Vesela Sretenović. Photo: AK Blythe

Through exhibitions, lectures, panels, performances, partnerships, tours, publications, and so much more, Vesela certainly infused the Phillips with contemporary art and spirit. We will miss you, Vesela!