August 27, 2001
Hirschel leaving for Indy art museum
By Michael Terrazas
Carlos Museum Director Tony Hirschel announced Aug. 14 that he is leaving
Emory in November to become director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art
(IMA), that citys largest public art museum.
Hirschel, who came to the Carlos as director in 1997, said the decision
to leave was extremely difficult, but the opportunity to lead
an institution with an annual budget many times that of the Carlos was
one he couldnt pass up. He said the closest equivalent to the IMA
in Atlanta is the High Museum.
I consider myself extraordinarily fortunate to have been here,
Hirschel said. The [Carlos] museum has the best staff, person for
person, that I have ever seen at any museum, and it has been a privilege
every day to work with them. Equally I will miss the colleageus that I
have found at Emory ... in any number of departments. To have so many
brilliant professional colleagues scattered around campus, really at ones
fingertips, thats something I will miss enormously.
Hirschels last day at the Carlos will be Nov. 2, after which he will move from a museum with annual budget of approximately $2.5 million to one with a budget of $15 million and growing in the IMA.
The move will return Hirschel to the kind of museum where he has spent
most of his career; prior to joining Emory, Hirschel was director of the
Bayly Art Museum at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and
before that he spent several years at the Yale University Art Gallery.
I deeply regret the departure, from this campus and from the Michael
C. Carlos Museum, of Anthony Hirschel, President Bill Chace said.
He has been an energetic, wonderfully knowledgeable and engagingly
enterprising member of the Emory and Atlanta community. He has been a
great contributor to the world of the arts here and has helped to make
the museum a very bright presence in the lives of many people.
Hirschel pointed to the 1999 acquisition of a collection of Egyptian
funerary art from a museum in Niagara Falls, Canada, as the highlight
of his time at Emory. After it became widely reported locally that the
Carlos was pursuing the collection but was short on funding, Atlanta residents
donated much of the $2 million needed to make the acquisition possible.
There are rare moments in anyones career where significant
opportunities present themselves, and this really was an extraordinary
opportunity, Hirschel said. We started getting calls from
people whod never even been here, never been on the Emory campus
at all, who simply felt it was so important that this happen for the city
that they didnt ask the normal questions like, Why doesnt
Emory pay for it?
Subsequent work on the collection, Hirschel added, was just as rewarding,
including the ongoing project with the team of geneticist Doug Wallace,
director of the Center for Molecular Medicine, to find a protocol for
extracting usable DNA from mummies in order to determine whether one mummy
in the collection is that of the pharaoh Ramesses I.
In every way, its a dream project and has involved every
aspect of what a museum like this is supposed to do, Hirschel said.
Since the Carlos Museum reports to the provost, Hirschel said Interim Provost Woody Hunter plans to convene a meeting to determine whether to appoint an interim director and how to begin a search for a permanent successor.