Art world buzz: Will MFAH delay the Peter Marzio replacement search for twoyears?
As the international arts world eagerly awaits any word on a new Museum of Fine Arts, Houston director (following the December 2010 passing of Peter C. Marzio), a rumor has surfaced in prominent art circles that the museum will delay the search.
According to the latest scuttlebutt making the rounds, the MFAH will halt the search process for "at least" two years, leaving interim director Gwen Goffe at the helm. As part of such a plan, Frances Marzio — Peter Marzio's widow and curator of the museum's Glassell Collections — will become more involved in administration as well.
Fredericka Hunter, director of the stalwart Texas Gallery and a longtime board member of the Chinati Foundation, confirms that she heard about the proposed plan from an art foundation official outside of Houston — but that's all she'll say. To replace such a beloved, influential figure as Marzio is a monumental task, particularly in the wake of multiple museum directorship openings around the region, lending credence to the idea that a long reign as interim director for Goffe makes sense.
But, MFAH director of communications and marketing Mary Haus tells CultureMap that there is no plan in place to leave Goffe at the helm for an extended period.
"The information sent to you by Ms. Hunter is incorrect," Haus wrote in an e-mail. "The MFAH search committee has been formed (as was announced last week) and their work to identify a new director for the museum is under way."
Serving as committee chair is Rich Kinder, a life trustee of the MFAH and a close friend of the late Marzio. Also on the small selection committee are Chairman of the Board of Trustees Cornelia Long, Brad Bucher, Anne Duncan, William Mathis and Michael Zilkha.
CultureMap unsuccessfully attempted to reach both Kinder and Long for comment.