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2014 Forty Under 40: Sarah Urist Green

Lou Harry
February 1, 2014
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green_sarah__urist_1col.jpg (IBJ Photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

The leap: In 2013, Green left her position as curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art to launch, with her husband—and fellow Forty Under 40 honoree John Green—the interactive PBS online program “The Art Assignment,” debuting Feb. 20.

Why Indianapolis? While finishing grad school at Columbia University, Green and husband John saw peers limiting job searches to the city. “We had a great network of artists and writers and friends,” Green said. “But we made the decision that we were OK leaving. It would be a high risk but a greater chance of reward.” When the IMA called, the Greens moved.

Creating versus curating: Green originally had artistic ambitions herself. At some point, I realized I much preferred talking about others’ art. And that other people’s art was better.” That led to gallery work in Chicago, where she found she was happy to talk about the art but less comfortable trying to sell it. Thus, grad school.

AGE 34
Hometown: Washington, D.C. (but grew up in Birmingham, Ala.)

Family: husband, John; children Henry, 4, and infant daughter, Alice

Art + internet = ? “There’s an active online community sharing and discussing art—and not just fellow art history grads. This is the right time and a great opportunity to bring contemporary art to that audience in a very accessible way.”

And the “assignment”? Most of the 42 eight-minute videos will include an interview with an artist who will present a creative assignment. Viewers are invited and encouraged to create their own art in response to the challenge, posting the results to their own social networks, thus spreading the art … and word about the program.

On working with her spouse: “I’ve never been keen on working with my husband. We enjoy collaborating on creating things but, in day-to-day office life, I like to have my professional space. And he does, too.”•

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