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Nancy Spector is new deputy director, chief curator of Brooklyn Museum

December 18, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nancy Spector. Photo by Elena Olivo
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The Brooklyn Museum has announced the appointment of Nancy Spector as its deputy director and chief curator. Spector joins the museum after having served for more than 29 years at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She comes to the Brooklyn Museum as the first senior staff member hired by Anne Pasternak following her recent appointment as the Museum’s Shelby White and Leon Levy director. She will succeed Kevin Stayton, who, after 35 years, will serve as deputy director and director of Collections and History. Spector will assume her new role in April 2016.

“The Brooklyn Museum’s past is rooted in vision, courage and a good measure of chutzpah. With Nancy Spector as our chief curator, we can count on a trailblazing future that charts new territory for our museum,” said Pasternak. “We can expect Nancy to explore the important questions of the role of art and museums for the 21st century, shaking up old canons and proposing new ones, while sharing our love of art and artists with ever-expanding audiences.”

“Nancy’s expertise and vision will revive our world-class collections and inspire rich and lively temporary exhibitions to excite the communities we serve,” added Elizabeth A. Sackler, Brooklyn Museum board chair and founder of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art. “Her exceptional intelligence will support our extensive educational and public programming.” 

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A preeminent authority on contemporary visual culture, Nancy Spector has served as deputy director and Jennifer and David Stockman chief curator of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, where she has demonstrated a commitment to the art of our time and promoted an ethos of radical innovation in the context of exhibitions and public programs. Her exhibition on the work of Peter Fischli and David Weiss (co-organized with Nat Trotman) will open at the Guggenheim on Feb. 5, 2016.

During her tenure at the Guggenheim, Spector has been heralded for her outstanding accomplishments, including developing an ambitious collections strategy for the museum and spearheading the creation of four acquisition committees. Spector has shaped the Guggenheim’s exhibition calendars in New York as well as its affiliate museums including Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the former Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin.

Spector is the author of numerous scholarly books, catalogue essays and editorials. She received a bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College, a master’s degree in art history from the Clark Art Institute at Williams College, and an MPhil in art history from City University of New York. She is a longtime Brooklyn resident.

“I am excited about joining the Brooklyn Museum at this significant juncture in its history, and working with Anne Pasternak and the curatorial team to redefine the role of an encyclopedic collection in the 21st century,” Spector commented. “I am impressed by the institution’s deep roots in the local community, and I hope to add to the museum’s vitality and relevance by expanding its scope to include more international audiences both on-site and online. I look forward to engaging with the Brooklyn Museum as a place of both scholarship and experimentation.” 

The museum’s leadership will further expand with the appointment of Kevin Stayton as deputy director and the museum’s first Director of Collections and History. Since Stayton joined the Brooklyn Museum in 1980, he has held a number of positions, including chair of the Department of Decorative Arts, and has steadily risen in various positions of curatorial leadership, becoming chief curator in 2001. Considered one of the leading scholars in the field of Decorative Arts, Stayton is a graduate of Ohio State University and was awarded a master’s degree in art history and an MPhil. from Yale University, where he was a research and exhibitions assistant at the Yale University Art Gallery.

—Information from the Brooklyn Museum


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