Gantner, 42, who has led PS122 since February 2005, said, “I feel strongly that a new leader should be in place as PS122 returns to the East Village. I’ve served PS122 for over 11 years, and I’m immensely proud of what the staff and artists I’ve been privileged to work with have achieved. I have total faith in their ability to continue to realize ambitious dreams. However, I think cultural organizations, particularly those in the business of new work and ideas, must embrace change in order to remain vital. We artistic directors can often hang around a bit too long. As Performance Space 122 plans for its return home, now is the right time for someone new to join PS122 and articulate a vision for its future. I’m looking forward to being a part of that transition and ensuring that PS122 remains an essential anchor of New York City’s culture life.”
Gantner has curated the 2017 edition of PS122’s COIL festival, which runs in early January, and will curate programming through the end of 2017. While the organization’s theaters are under renovation by the City of New York, PS122’s COIL 2017 Festival will take place in partner venues throughout New York City.
PS122 Board Vice President Charles L. Kerr said, “Since 2005, Vallejo has deepened and expanded the mission of PS122 in countless ways. His leadership has been visionary and vital for our organization, especially over the last five years, as New York City has renovated the East Village building that Performance Space 122 shares with AIDS Service Center NYC, Mabou Mines, and Painting Space 122. As we plan for our return to our newly renovated theaters, we are grateful not only for Vallejo’s leadership, but also his commitment to work with the Board in conducting a search for his successor and to ensure that this transition is smooth and seamless. We couldn’t be more excited about the future of Performance Space 122.”
Gantner, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, brought an international roster to PS122, while also championing a new generation of boundary-pushing American artists. In 2006, Gantner launched COIL, PS122's critically-acclaimed, annual performance festival, which held its 11th edition this past January. In 2011, when New York City began renovations at 150 First Avenue, Gantner thoughtfully reimagined PS122 as a producer of new work throughout the city, largely in partnership with peer organizations. Gantner also launchedGive Performance Space (GPS), the organization’s most expansive and most successful fundraising campaign ever. In 2013, Gantner launched PS122 Global, an international touring project which brought live works, readings and performance films of Performance Space 122 artists to countries across Europe and Australian. Artists whom Gantner has championed during his tenure in New York City include Annie Dorsen, Maria Hassabi, Adrienne Truscott, Heather Kravas, Young Jean Lee, Mike Iveson, the TEAM, Kaneza Schaal, LeeSaar, Tina Satter of Half Straddle, Okwui Okpokwasili, Andrew Schneider, Rabih Mroué (Lebanon), Ant Hampton (UK), Morgan Thorson, Pan Pan (Ireland), and Mariano Penscotti (Argentina) and many more.
Prior to PS122, Gantner led The Dublin Fringe Festival from 2002-05, when it became the fastest growing cultural event in Ireland. He also served as artistic associate for the Melbourne Festival in addition to having worked as a theater director, producer in Asia and the United States.