Two filled, Houston next?
Former MFAH curator becomes deputy director of Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston vet George T.M. Shackelford is making art world headlines, moving from curator at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to the role of senior deputy director of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.
For 11 years, the Louisiana native worked under the leadership of late MFAH director Peter Marzio as the curator of European painting and sculpture. Since his move to Boston's MFA in 1996, Shackelford has overseen the reinstallation of the museum's European art galleries, as well as such major exhibitions as Gauguin Tahiti and Van Gogh: Face to Face. Shackelford's Monet in the 20th Centurywas recognized as the most highly attended exhibition in the world in 1998.
With an ambitious starchitect-envisioned expansion in the works, will the MFAH follow the Kimbell's lead and secure a museum mastermind for the vacant director role?
Incidentally, Shackelford returned to the MFAH in February to present a lecture on van Gogh's self-portraits as part of the 35th Annual Ruth K. Shartle Symposium.
Shackelford is entering the Kimbell at a critical moment for the museum. In 2013, the internationally respected institution will break out of its iconic Louis I. Kahn building into an expansion designed by Renzo Piano (who first gained recognition in the United States with the Menil Collection commission). Kimbell director Eric M. Lee is dubbing Shackelford "one of the most talented curators there is," suggesting that the new deputy director will shape the museum's future.
With an ambitious starchitect-envisioned expansion in the works, will the MFAH follow the Kimbell's lead and secure a museum mastermind for the vacant director role? The Kimbell is following the pattern of the San Antonio Museum of Art, which in May found its new director in Philadelphia Museum of Art European paintings curator Katherine Luber. As a UT graduate, Luber comes with some Texas cred, and like Shackelford, she logged time in the MFAH offices.
Time will tell if the MFAH search committee will also nab a professional with Texas ties from an East Coast old guard institution. Or perhaps, a true cultural pioneer is to be found in the wild West.