Search for new Rose Museum director is intensifying

Expanded committee, search firm hope to have a short list by early in 2012

Brandeis University is intensifying its search for a new Rose Art Museum director. 

The position has been vacant since 2009. Roy Dawes, director of museum operations, has led the Rose since that time, and will continue to hold a senior position at the museum once a permanent director is named.

 A nine-person search committee was named in September 2010, but its task was slowed as the university worked to resolve the controversy that arose from a proposal to close the museum during the financial crisis that began in 2008. A lawsuit to block that proposal was settled last summer; following that, the committee was revamped and expanded. 

 "This is a time of enormous promise for the Rose," says Scott Edmiston, director of the Office of the Arts and chair of the committee. "The search committee is committed to finding a leader who combines innovative vision with organizational expertise, and who will help Brandeis strengthen the museum and point it toward the 21st century.  

“I'm thrilled by the goodwill and generous support we have received from the campus community, alumni and museum professionals," Edmiston said. "The tone of the search is one of great hope.”

The new search committee has 13 members and an auxiliary advisory group of three alumni. It is working with the executive search firm Phillips Oppenheim, which has completed searches for more than 45 university museum directors and whose past clients have included the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, to recommend a short list of candidates to the provost by early next year.

Becky Klein ’77 of Phillips Oppenheim says she is conducting a national search.

“There will be a lot of interest and a lot of eyes on this search. We’re excited to find a fantastic leader for the Rose – someone who can ensure it remains a wonderful resource,” Klein said. “Right now we’re listening to what everyone’s hopes and dreams are.”

The committee includes Meryl Feinstein ‘12, an undergraduate majoring in art history; Daniel Feldman, vice president for Planning and Institutional Research; Lois Foster, a member of the Rose Board of Overseers; Susan Lichtman, an associate professor of fine arts; John Lisman, the Zalman Abraham Kekst Chair in Neuroscience and professor of biology; Robin Feuer Miller, the Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities; Stephen Reiner '61, an alumnus, trustee, and chairman of the Rose Board of Overseers; Jock Reynolds, an artist and the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery; Amy Silberstein, of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations; Jonathan Unglaub, an associate professor of fine arts; Rebecca Ulm ‘11/PB’12, a graduate student representative studying studio art; and Michaele Whelan, vice provost for academic affairs.

The advisory committee is made up of alumni working in the arts: Kim Rorschach '78, director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; Adam Weinberg '77, director of the Whitney Museum of American Art; and Gary Tinterow '76, curator in charge of 19th-century, modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“The Rose Art Museum is fundamental to what I went on to do and who I am today,” says Rorschach, who majored in art history and received a Ph.D. at Yale in art history. “It was critical to my education.

“Despite recent challenges and challenges that will remain in the future, this is an incredible opportunity for someone to make a huge difference, to work with an amazing collection that has wonderful potential,” Rorschach said.

The museum, which houses New England's preeminent collection of modern and contemporary American art, currently is undergoing extensive renovations, funded by Gerald and Sandra Fineberg, to enhance the appearance of the original building, to make it more energy-efficient and to create a better physical environment for the collection. The work will be completed this fall in time for the 50th anniversary exhibition.

Categories: Arts, General

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