1. NEW HAVEN, CONN.- Yale announced today that Stephanie Wiles, currently the Richard J. Schwartz Director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, will be the next Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery. Ms. Wiles will join Yale on July 1, succeeding Jock Reynolds, who has led the gallery since 1998.
Ms. Wiles has 20 years experience leading college and university art museums at Cornell, Oberlin College, and Wesleyan University. She began her career in the department of drawings and prints at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City where she worked for seventeen years. Ms. Wiles received her bachelor’s degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a master’s degree in art history from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and a Ph.D. in art history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
At Cornell, Ms. Wiles raised endowments to support new curatorial positions, spearheaded an active grant program to advance teaching across disciplines, led the redesign of permanent collection galleries, and launched a comprehensive photography partnership with the Cornell University Library through a new grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She also oversaw the commission of a stunning light installation on the exterior ceiling of the museum’s sculpture court, visible from campus and the city of Ithaca. Comprised of 12,000 LEDs and named in honor of scientist Carl Sagan, “Cosmos,” by artist and Yale alumnus Leo Villareal, was completed in 2012.
“Stephanie shares my vision for integrating the arts into so much of what we do at Yale,” Peter Salovey, president of Yale, said. “She is a respected leader and gifted communicator who understands that the arts can contribute to every aspect of teaching and learning on our campus. From interdisciplinary classes that take advantage of the museum’s superb collections, to collaborations with scientists and conservators at Yale West Campus, to outreach to our neighbors in New Haven and visitors worldwide, I am confident Stephanie will forge new and lasting partnerships to further strengthen the connections between the gallery and the rest of the university.”
“I am thrilled about this incomparable opportunity to lead the Yale University Art Gallery,” Ms. Wiles said. “Its renowned collections and distinguished staff make the gallery one of the finest university art museums in the world. The unique possibilities to partner with faculty, students, and staff, as well as with outstanding colleagues and collections just steps away at the Yale Center for British Art, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and the Peabody Museum of Natural History, are tremendously inspiring."
A specialist in old master drawings, Ms. Wiles has written and lectured widely on topics ranging from Rembrandt etchings to the photographs of Margaret Bourke-White. She has decades of experience organizing major exhibitions and curating or co-curating shows, including Side by Side: Oberlin’s Masterworks at the Met; Jim Dine, some drawings; Gainsborough to Ruskin: British Landscape Drawings & Watercolors in the Morgan Library & Museum; and Exploring Rome: Piranesi and his Contemporaries. Ms. Wiles serves on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and chairs the AAMD Membership Committee.
“The formative early years I spent at the Morgan Library taught me the importance of quality, connoisseurship, and deep looking,” Ms. Wiles said. “It has been a joy to apply this same research and aesthetic expertise to learning about art from other cultures and contemporary arts practice in an academic setting. Mentoring undergraduate and graduate students is exciting to me, and I look forward to working with the gallery’s curators, educators, conservators, and others to ensure that Yale continues to play a leading role in all areas of museum work and education.”
Ms. Wiles has extensive experience working at the intersection of art, science, and technology. She served on several committees at Cornell Tech, a science and technology graduate school in New York City, tasked with integrating the visual arts into the student experience. She has also worked to create transdisciplinary programs at Cornell’s main campus. Under Ms. Wiles’ leadership, the Johnson Museum developed eight new semester-long courses co-taught by museum staff and faculty from the arts, humanities, engineering, and science.
“The Yale University Art Gallery is an exceptional resource for our university and for scholars around the world, and it is a wonderful attraction and focal point for our students, staff, faculty, and the thousands of visitors who enjoy our collections each year. It is one of Yale’s greatest treasures,” Salovey said. “I know Stephanie will create new ways to reach large and diverse audiences, ensuring that even more people enjoy, appreciate, and learn from these incredible works of art.”
2. WASHINGTON DC Augustus (Gus) Casely-Hayford is the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, the nation’s premiere museum devoted to the arts of Africa. He joined the museum in February of 2018 and brings with him a wealth of experience writing, lecturing, and broadcasting on Africa’s arts and cultures. Casely-Hayford succeeded Johnnetta Betsch Cole, who served as director of the National Museum of African Art from 2009 through 2017 and now holds the title Director Emerita.
Casely-Hayford is a fellow of the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, a trustee of the National Trust (the U.K.’s largest heritage organization), a member of the Blue Plaque Group, and a Clore Fellow. He sits on the board of the Caine Prize for African Writing and has previously sat on the board of London’s National Portrait Gallery. As director of Africa 05, he organized the largest African arts season in Britain, with more than 150 venues hosting 1,000 events. Recently, he developed an exhibition for London’s National Portrait Gallery using 18th- and 19th-century portraits to tell the story of Britain’s abolition of slavery.
A frequent on-air contributor about Africa, Casely-Hayford has presented a six-part television series for Sky Arts called Tate Britain’s Great British Walks and two series of Lost Kingdoms of Africa for the BBC, for which he also wrote the companion book (Bantam Press, Random House, 2012). He has advised on a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet, worked on a British Library exhibition focused on African intellectual tradition, and consulted on Tate Britain’s exhibition Artist and Empire. Casely-Hayford delivered a recent TEDGlobal Talk on pre-colonial Africa and is the author of an upcoming book on Timbuktu and the rise of the Mali Empire (Ladybird/Penguin, 2018).
Born in London, Casely-Hayford was educated at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, where he received his doctorate in African history and was later awarded an honorary fellowship. He delivered a centenary lecture on Ghana for the school and he remains a SOAS research associate and a member of its Centre of African Studies Council. https://africa.si.edu/about/gus-casely-hayford/
3. GAINESVILLE, FL.- After 15 years as director of the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida, Rebecca M. Nagy has announced she will retire from her position in the summer of 2018.
Nagy was appointed director of the Harn in July 2002. Under her leadership, the Harn has become essential in the cultural and academic life of UF and the Gainesville community, as well as increased its collections and visibility of exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Significant building expansions have been completed under her direction. These include an 18,000-square-foot wing with galleries for contemporary art, classrooms and a café in 2005 and a 26,000-square-foot wing for the exhibition, conservation and study of Asian art in 2012.
Art in the Harn’s collections has increased from approximately 4,700 to 11,100 works—more than doubling the amount of art available for display, research and teaching. That growth has allowed the Harn to loan numerous works of art to other institutions and organize original exhibitions that travel to other venues across the nation.
Transformative strategic planning focusing on community engagement and immersing art into UF academics has resulted in a steady increase of numbers served to more than 100,000 visitors per year. Membership has reached record highs with over 6,000 individual members, of whom more than 2,000 are UF students. Harn staff has grown from three curators overseeing the collections to six curators overseeing the major collecting areas of African, Asian, modern and contemporary art and photography. The education department has also grown to include an Education Curator of Academic Programs, whose goal is to collaborate with campus departments and colleges in order to incorporate art into student learning experiences.
Since Nagy’s appointment, endowments supporting acquisitions and programs at the Harn have grown to a total current market value of $19.2 million. This includes 22 new endowments added since her appointment worth an estimated current market value of $8.48 million.
“It has been an honor to lead the Harn through significant growth in what feels like a very short amount of time,” Nagy said. “My years here have provided challenges, rich rewards and much joy and satisfaction. There are great things ahead for the Harn. I leave secure in the knowledge that my colleagues’ passion, energy and dedication to excellence will thrive under new leadership.”
Throughout her career, Nagy has curated exhibitions, published articles and exhibition catalogues, and lectured widely about medieval, contemporary and African art. For the Harn, she co-organized the exhibition “Continuity and Change: Three Generations of Ethiopian Artists” (2007) with Achamyeleh Debela and produced the accompanying catalogue, and worked with an international curatorial team from the Harn and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium to organize the traveling exhibition “Kongo across the Waters” (2014). She also collaborated with Susan Cooksey to co-curate “Deep Roots, Bold Visions: Self-Taught Artists of Alachua County” (2012).
Nagy has served as a trustee of the Association of Art Museum Directors, is immediate-past-president of the Florida Art Museum Directors Association and currently serves on the board of the Florida Association of Museums. She is an editor for the scholarly journal “African Arts.” Nagy is an emerita board member of Gainesville’s Matheson History Museum and a former board member of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association, Art in Public Places Trust of Gainesville and Alachua County, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Gainesville and Gainesville Women’s Forum.
Prior to her appointment as director of the Harn, Nagy spent 17 years at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, where she concluded her tenure as associate director of education while also serving as curator of African art. From 1988 through 2002, she also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she was awarded her doctorate in art history in 1983. Nagy was a lecturer in the department of art and art history at the Cleveland Museum of Art from 1982 to 1985.
“I have seen the results of Nagy’s determination to make the Harn’s collections and exhibitions accessible for all,” said Joseph Glover, UF provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. “Her exemplary leadership has ensured the Harn will continue to enrich lives in our community for generations to come.”
The search firm Russell Reynolds and Associates has been selected to conduct a national search for the next director and a search committee has been assembled with the goal of having the new director ready to step in when Nagy retires.