New director Anthony Hirschel envisions closer ties between museum, curriculum

The key role that the Carlos Museum has come to play in the cultural life of metro Atlanta over the last decade is nothing short of incredible, as evidenced by the museum's designation as a venue for the Cultural Olympiad.

With the recent appointment of Anthony G. Hirschel as museum director, one of the next major areas of focus for the museum will be integrating the facility more fully into Emory's academic mission.

In commenting on Hir-schel's appointment, Provost Billy Frye stressed the new director's skills in simultaneously fostering two important roles for the Bayley Art Museum, skills that will be crucial at the Carlos Museum.

"Mr. Hirschel is a very bright, capable and charming man who understands the dual nature of the museum as both an arm of the academic community and as a public museum," said Frye. "We are delighted to have been able to lure such a promising individual from a sister institution of the caliber of the University of Virginia."

Hirschel is excited about the opportunities for growth at the museum. "The Carlos Museum has become one of the finest and most active university museums in the country, a prominence it achieved in a remarkably short period," said Hirschel. "The museum operates at the very highest levels of the international art world, and at the same time, makes a significant contribution to the cultural life of Emory and Atlanta more generally. In the next several years, the museum will explore new ways of integrating its activities more fully into the academic mission of the University. We will maintain the level of excellence that is now expected of the museum in exhibitions, publications, public programs and interactive museum technology, and we will secure the financial base that guarantees the museum's ability to sustain these activities. I look forward with enthusiasm to working with everyone at Emory to realize these ambitious plans."

Hirschel, whose appointment will take effect Feb. 1, comes to Emory from the Bayley Art Museum at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he has served as director since 1991. At Bayley, Hirschel organized major exhibitions of the work of Russian artist/architects Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin. He coordinated exhibitions of Old Master prints, drawings by Thomas Jefferson, prints by Felix Vallotton, and Tibetan and Nepalese art.

Under Hirschel's leadership, the Bayley Art Museum has adopted a more ambitious exhibition schedule and vastly expanded the accompanying programming. Initiatives Hirschel has pursued with the University of Virginia's art department include creation of additional graduate fellowships and a gallery devoted to curriculum-driven exhibitions drawn from the Bayley Museum's permanent collection.

In addition, Hirschel is credited with dramatically increasing university community participation in the Bayley Museum. A number of university faculty members serve as adjunct curators for exhibitions in their area of expertise, and they also sit on acquisition and policy advisory committees.

Prior to working with the Bayley Museum, Hirschel was with the Yale University Art Gallery for 10 years.

A history/art history graduate of the University of Michigan, Hirschel worked at the university's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, then went on to earn two master's degrees from Yale.

Hirschel's background and credentials were particularly impressive to Art History Department Chair Judith Rohrer, who recalled from the search process Hirschel's realistic assessments of the complicated role that the museum director is expected to play. "It's not easy," Rohrer said, "to accommodate the diverse cultural and academic agendas of the Emory community along with those of the larger Atlanta communities, who have come to think of the museum as a vital part of the artistic life of the city, while attending to the nuts and bolts of day-to-day operations and the care of the collections. But he impressed me as an affable facilitator who will work eagerly and effectively to make the museum an engaging and responsive venue for stimulating encounters with art and its discourses. Many of the faculty members in the art history department have played a crucial role in developing and curating the museum's collections and exhibitions since it was founded, and we all look forward enthusiastically to working closely with the new director to help him in this endeavor."

--Dan Treadaway

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