HOUSTON, TX—The Museum of Fine Arts Houston has announced the appointment of Caroline Goeser as head of its department of learning and interpretation, reports Steven Litt of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Goeser will also head the museum’s Glassell School of Art. Previously the head of education at the Cleveland Museum of Art and a tenured professor in the University of Houston, Goeser was born in Berkeley, California and holds a doctorate in art history from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She begins her new post in April.
March 10, 2014
Sydney Biennale Chairman Quits over Festival’s Detention-Center Link
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA—Luca Belgiorno-Nettis has resigned as chairman of the Sydney Biennale, according to Michael Safi and Paul Farrell in The Guardian. His move follows a statement issued by thirty-seven participating artists who encouraged the festival to examine its ties to sponsor Transfield, a contractor which operated detention centers accused of mismanagement and human rights abuses. A number of the signatories even withdrew their artwork from the event. “I wear two hats: one as chair of the Biennale of Sydney and the other as a director of Transfield Holdings; both organizations conceived by my father and nurtured by my family over many decades,” said Belgiorno-Nettis in a statement. “I learned that some international government agencies are beginning to question the decision of the Biennale’s board to stand by Transfield. Biennale staff have been verbally abused with taunts of ‘blood on your hands.’ I have been personally vilified with insults, which I regard as naive and offensive. This situation is entirely unfair—especially when directed towards our dedicated biennale team who give so much of themselves.”
March 8, 2014
Cleveland Museum Begins Multimillion-Dollar Diversity Initiative
CLEVELAND, OH—Steven Litt reports in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that the Cleveland Museum of Art will devote a large portion of a recent $10 million gift to diversify “an audience traditionally dominated by middle-class whites,” by launching programs aimed at community engagement. The museum couldn’t announce the full price tag for this initiative—but said it runs into the millions—because the remaining amount was used to purchase ninety-five Indian paintings, and the museum doesn’t disclose what it pays for works in private sales. Bidwell said he hoped the city’s diverse communities would tell the museum how it could better serve them. “A lot of the work of community engagement is the outreach, the listening part, and that’s what’s different,” said Fred Bidwell, the museum’s interim director.
March 7, 2014
Director of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to Retire
BOSTON, MA—Malcolm Rogers, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has announced that he will retire as soon as the museum’s board names his successor, reports Carol Vogel of the New York Times. Rogers, who has been at the museum for nineteen years, is the longest-serving director in the institution’s history. During his tenure, he increased museum attendance by over 200,000 visitors per year and grew the endowment from $180 million to $602 million. The museum itself also expanded in size during Rogers’s time: Ninety-seven of its galleries have been either expanded or renovated, including the museum’s American wing, which alone increased the museum’s size by 28 percent. Rogers recently turned down a contract that would have extended his role at the museum until 2018.
March 6, 2014
Birmingham Museum Names New European Curator
BIRMINGHAM, UK—Birmingham Museum of Art has announced the appointment of Robert Schindler as its curator of European art, reports Broadway World. Most recently a medieval art curatorial fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Schindler was born in Berlin, Germany and studied art history and business administration at the Freie Universität Berlin, receiving his Ph.D. in 2010. He has previously served as a fellow in the department of art history and archaeology at Columbia University, New York, and worked in the European art department at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
March 5, 2014
Rice University to Demolish Former Museum Building
HOUSTON, TX—Rice University, Houston, has announced plans to demolish its Martel Center, reports Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times. Originally known as the Rice Museum, the building was commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil in 1969 upon the founding of the Institute for the Arts at Rice. The structure’s corrugated-metal style is said to have inspired Houston’s “tin house” movement, which began in the area in the 1970s. The university has not yet released a demolition date.
March 4, 2014
San Antonio Museum Curator Resigns
SAN ANTONIO, TX—David Rubin, a longtime curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art, has resigned, reports Jack Morgan of Texas Public Radio. Rubin was raised in California, graduated from Harvard University, and moved to San Antonio from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Details over his departure have not been released. Rubin’s departure follows on the heels of the museum’s recent appointment of William Keyse Rudolph as its chief curator.
March 3, 2014
New Board Members at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
WASHINGTON, DC—Steve Elmendorf and Mark Rosman have been appointed to the board of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Steve Elmendorf is the founder of the Washington government relations firm Elmendorf Ryan and spent twelve years as a senior advisor to House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt. Mark Rosman is a partner in the Washington office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and previously acted as assistant chief of the National Criminal Enforcement Section in the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Said Hirshhorn interim director and chief curator Kerry Brougher: “As the Hirshhorn approaches its fortieth anniversary in October, we are pleased to announce the election of two board members who have significant ties to the local community and have shown a deep commitment to contemporary art.”
March 2, 2014
Public Art Fund Announces New Board Members
NEW YORK—Patricia E. Harris, Elizabeth Fearon Pepperman, and Matthew D. Bass have joined the board of directors at Public Art Fund. Said director and chief curator Nicholas Baume: “Given our mission to present dynamic contemporary art experiences in New York’s urban environment, we are delighted to add these three outstanding leaders of the city’s business and philanthropic communities to our board.” Harris heads Bloomberg Philanthropies and previously served as the first deputy mayor of the City of New York; Fearon Pepperman is a former Brooklyn assistant district attorney, and Matthew D. Bass is a vice president and the chief operating officer of AllianceBernstein’s alternative asset management business.