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Orange County Museum of Art appoints Heidi Zuckerman as director

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The Orange County Museum of Art has a new director: Heidi Zuckerman, formerly director of the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado, will join OCMA as director and general manager on February 8, the museum said on Wednesday. Costa Mesa.

Zuckerman replaces Todd D. Smith, who left in August to direct the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina

I’m so excited. I love Southern California, Zuckerman said in an interview. I have been a frequent visitor for decades and have long admired OCMA and its progressiveness, it was founded by 13 women and the incredible and rich history of conservation. And I love the architecture of Thom Maynes. It is a dream to be able to join the community in this way.

Zuckerman said the museum’s collection of more than 4,500 works, produced during the 20th and 21st centuries by Californian and peaceful artists, was key in attracting him to the position. The museum was perfect, she said, collecting artists such as Charles Ray, Chris Burden, Mary Heilmann, and Jay DeFeo early in their careers.

This historical point of view feeds his vision of the museum, which is to look back and move forward.

I think a lot of people, including me, have spent a lot of time alone this year thinking about what we value and what matters most, Zuckerman said. And I am a staunch defender of the importance of art and culture in building a good society and for life. I think we can go back to the history of the institution to get an idea of ​​what came before and capitalize on this progressivity.

OCMA Board Chairman Craig Wells called Zuckerman innovative and inspiring in announcing the appointment and said she has an outstanding record of museum leaders to be entrepreneur, dynamic and sustainable. The programmatic vision she has articulated for the museum, combined with her deep and proven experience of institutional growth, makes her uniquely qualified to lead OCMA.

Zuckerman, who hosts the independently produced Conversations About Art podcast and wrote the Conversations With Artists book series, was at the Aspen Art Museum from 2005 to 2019. She revamped the institutions’ mission, making it more contemporary, and oversaw the creation of a $ 45- a million-dollar museum building designed by Pritzker Prize winner architect Shigeru Ban.

OCMA is building a $ 75 million, 53,000 square feet house, designed by Pritzker Prize winner Mayne, at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Its on track to open in mid-2022. The museum raised $ 53 million in October, said Acting Director Sarah Jesse.

I was there last week and was really excited about the construction progress, Zuckerman said, noting an architectural allusion to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. You can see many key, iconic elements, the exterior steps, a reference to the Met steps and the geometric bulbous shape to the right, which nicely houses the Public programs. Its design is both analytical and geometric and at the same time organic.

Zuckerman said it was especially exciting to join OCMA and Los Angeles at a pivotal time for the city’s museums. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is booming, as is the new building designed by Peter Zumthor at the Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, and the Academy Museum is scheduled to open on September 30.

I am very happy to collaborate with my colleagues in the region, said Zuckerman. I have old friends [here]And Sandra Jackson-Dumont [director] at the Lucas Museum and Annie Philbin [director at the Hammer Museum] is a longtime mentor. And it sounds like an amazing time. Southern California has always been phenomenal for art, especially the art of our time. And that sounds like a bonus. It was already awesome. It’s just getting better.



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