Museum of Fine Arts Developments | Fenway

whighlander

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Sorry. Not buying it. I see no continuum with MFA and MOS. One is a world-famous art museum with fabled holdings, the other is a very good museum that caters to kids (and pet lovers, apparently). Honestly, it never occured to me that one could mention MFA and BSO in the same breath as MOS.
Tomb -- I hate to break it to you -- But on: Attendance, annual $ flow, Valud of Physical Plant & Endowment, Desirability on the Board or of being a key outside player / Donor --- all three are at the top of the Non/Not for Profit Institutions in Boston / Cambridge and on the top ? list Globally -- [Note Haaaaaahvd, MIT and the other Great Big U's not included on the following list]

The Cultural Pecking Order around here:
1) [virtual tie] BSO/MFA

3) MOS




4 ......X) irrelevant order -- ICA, Gardner, Baletts, Operas, & all the rest
 

Tombstoner

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Basically, I just don't think of the MOS as a cultural institution any more than the Children's Museum (which is not to criticize either). My point is just that MOS and MFA are chalk and cheese. Granted, they are unquestionnably the two premier Boston museums that use the word "of." ;)
 

whighlander

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Basically, I just don't think of the MOS as a cultural institution any more than the Children's Museum (which is not to criticize either). My point is just that MOS and MFA are chalk and cheese. Granted, they are unquestionnably the two premier Boston museums that use the word "of." ;)
Tomb -- I guess we will never see the same MOS

Your MOS is some sort of static kiddy place

My MOS is as much a intellectual challenge and ignitor of curiosity for adults [or if you want the cliche Children of All Ages] as it is fun and inspirational place for young children

The real major difference between the two museums
One has more rocks formed by nature than the other
One has a lot more point objects created by humans the other fewer, but ultimately far more important

Major similarities:
Both attempt in a unique Boston way to put things into context and perspective
Both use hands-on and inquisitive approaches rather than rote and recitation

Both MFA and MOS are Boston Landmarks and also Icons and along with the BSO -- all 3 are world renowned Cultural Institutions
 

whighlander

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Malcolm Rodgers the ultimate architect of the New MFA announces retirement

He will stay on until a successor is selected

I think he should have his name attached in some meaningful way as nearly 1/2 of the MFA either was built or rebuilt while he has been the Director
 

mass88

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I am not really well read/knowledgeable about the Arts and museums, but is this a big blow to the MFA that he is stepping down?
 

George_Apley

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^ I don't know that it's a "blow," he's been there for 20 years and is 65. He wants to give some "young eyes" a look at the museum's future. It will be a loss in the sense that he turned the museum around in a BIG way since the early 90s. He led the expansion, innovation and modernization of the MFA, and tripled their endowment. He'll be missed, but he's not dumping them or anything, just moving on. I would hope the Board of Directors is savvy enough to hire a new director who can mesh with Rodgers's vision.
 

Tombstoner

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Rogers was the right man for the job at the time--he's taken the MFA to new heights. That said, there seems to be a lot of curatorial talent knocking around out there (looking at you, Eric Lee--yeah, Boston's cold, but you're ready for the big leagues) and there's every reason to think that the next director will be able to pick up where Rogers left off. It would be wonderful if Rogers was staying in Boston to continue in a backbench position and maybe even sit on the Board--his connections to other museums and to local donors is invaluable.
 

whighlander

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Rogers was the right man for the job at the time--he's taken the MFA to new heights. That said, there seems to be a lot of curatorial talent knocking around out there (looking at you, Eric Lee--yeah, Boston's cold, but you're ready for the big leagues) and there's every reason to think that the next director will be able to pick up where Rogers left off. It would be wonderful if Rogers was staying in Boston to continue in a backbench position and maybe even sit on the Board--his connections to other museums and to local donors is invaluable.
Tomb -- I'm sure Malcolm will get something akin to the Laureate Conductor title that John Williams got when he left POPs or and Institute Professor at MIT

My guess is that Malcolm will be given the title of Director Emeritus and Something of the newly endowed MFA study center to be housed in the old Forsythe Detal building when NU's lease runs-out

This has several benefits:
1) keeps Malcolm around for consultation
2) gives him something to plan -- taking away the need for major day to day management
3) creates a huge opportunity for more fat-cat donations
4) opens up another 1/4 of the Lowell designed part of the MFA for use as exhibition galleries
 

Tombstoner

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Tomb -- I'm sure Malcolm will get something akin to the Laureate Conductor title that John Williams got when he left POPs or and Institute Professor at MIT

My guess is that Malcolm will be given the title of Director Emeritus and Something of the newly endowed MFA study center to be housed in the old Forsythe Detal building when NU's lease runs-out

This has several benefits:
1) keeps Malcolm around for consultation
2) gives him something to plan -- taking away the need for major day to day management
3) creates a huge opportunity for more fat-cat donations
4) opens up another 1/4 of the Lowell designed part of the MFA for use as exhibition galleries
First, thanks for not telling me I need to do my homework...
Second, yeah, I think it would be great if he stayed on in an emeritus capacity. I would LOVE to see the MFA utilize the Forsyth Institute (and make parts of it open to outsiders) and expand exhibition space (not sure how much space is left in the Lowell-sections of the MFA--is it available for use? I imagine it isn't just sitting around empty).
 

kmp1284

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I am not really well read/knowledgeable about the Arts and museums, but is this a big blow to the MFA that he is stepping down?
We'll find out in a few years. On the surface it appears to be a blow but it all depends on who the Board selects to replace him

I don't think Rogers will be going too far. One article I read recently spoke of his fondness for Boston and the bonds he's formed here. It indicated that he had downsized from a larger home in Brookline to a condo in Chestnut Hill while also purchasing a home in Oxford(UK). I am fairly certain I recall reading that at some point in the last five years, he became an American citizen as well. Assuming his generosity is commensurate with his income, he's almost certainly become wealthy enough to justify a seat on the Board of Trustees. At the very least his expertise merits a seat on the Board of Overseers. I don't think he's looking for another job though.

The selection process will be interesting to follow. I think that will be an excellent indicator of how far the museum has come under Rogers' tenure - what kind of candidate can they recruit? I don't know enough about what the museum is looking for but my choices would be Timothy Rub of the Philadelphia Museum of Art or Gary Tinterow of the MFA Houston. There's little doubt as to the high regard in which the MFA is held but at the same time I'm not sure if these moves would be seen as a lateral career move or a legitimate promotion. The MFA probably leads both on prestige alone but the MFA Houston is considerably wealthier with an endowment in excess of a billion. Rub has only been in Philadelphia for a few years and I don't think their expansion is complete. Eric Lee would be a great candidate as well. The previous director of the Kimbell is now running the Getty.
 

TomOfBoston

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First, thanks for not telling me I need to do my homework...
Second, yeah, I think it would be great if he stayed on in an emeritus capacity. I would LOVE to see the MFA utilize the Forsyth Institute (and make parts of it open to outsiders) and expand exhibition space (not sure how much space is left in the Lowell-sections of the MFA--is it available for use? I imagine it isn't just sitting around empty).
The MFA has indicated to Northeastern that it is willing to sell the Forsyth building to NU before the current 10 year lease expires.
 

Tombstoner

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The MFA has indicated to Northeastern that it is willing to sell the Forsyth building to NU before the current 10 year lease expires.
That's not what the MFA is putting out there. Rogers just spoke (last week) about his plans on moving forward with creating a center for the study and curation of art from the Forsyth Institute. That said, who knows what skullduggery goes on behind closed doors... Personally, I think it would be a shame to turn such a beautiful building over to NU when the MFA could really use the space.
 

stellarfun

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Both Rub and Tinterow are in their early 60's, and, IMO, not likely to be candidates to replace a director who is retiring at age 65.
 

whighlander

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The MFA has indicated to Northeastern that it is willing to sell the Forsyth building to NU before the current 10 year lease expires.
Tom of B -- that's an old rumor -- the Forsythe is definitely in the MFA plans as the expansion potential of the main campus is limited without another New American Wing type of fund raising, demolition, followed by construction and related disruption for 10 years.

The only way to move the curators and some storage out of the main building [2 + galleries] is to give them something within easy walking distance that has some character and space -- that's the Forsythe

Right now its not needed as the Lowell addition of the Evans Wing is being fully converted over to the European Dept. and the Behrakis Wing redone to house the Greek, Roman and Egyptian and as yet available for naming $$$ Asian Wing with room for a few more galleries


So I would think that short of a few BofA-scale donations that gallery by gallery process is going to last for another 5 years at least

Of course a major donation of $$$$ or major major donation of art such as Rose-Marie and Eijk Van Otterloo collection and associated library would alter all -- much as the Yawkee Foundation donation rewrote the plan of the MOS for the next decade
 

whighlander

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Well, we have a new Director, Matthew Teitelbaum, formally of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Thoughts?
Stat -- well first coming from Toronto he shouldn't be scared of our winters :)

He also has been here before with Harvard and the ICA and so he's probably got some fairly solid threads among the potential local donors of $ and objects d'art

He's also apparently done quite a good job attracting $ and OdA that's a plus

One surprise is that after so much talk about Asia his specialties are
A scholar of contemporary, European, and Canadian art, Teitelbaum holds a bachelor of arts with honors in Canadian history from Carleton University, a master of philosophy in modern European painting and sculpture from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Queen’s University.
from the MFA announcement
http://www.mfa.org/news/new-mfa-director


Going out on a limb -- big new fund raising will be soon launched in honor of new director and 150th anniversary of the MFA [2020]
 

PaulC

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Going out on a limb -- big new fund raising will be soon launched in honor of new director and 150th anniversary of the MFA [2020]
The MFA is in year 2 of a 3 year campaign to raise $200 million. As of the end of January 2015 they have raise $123 million or 62%. Campaign ends July 2016.
 
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JohnAKeith

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I heard a rumor that the staff was happy with the decision and have already found him approachable and easy to talk with. If I had heard otherwise, I probably wouldn't say anything at all.

I like that he's been here before, so he has at least an idea of what Boston can be like. He was a curator the ICA during the Mapplethorpe controversy in the early 1990s so he probably has a good sense of what kind of people he'll be dealing with.

If you hadn't heard, there's apparently a story out there about Teitelbaum's father picketing the Toronto museum at one point (prior to his son's working there, I think), complaining that it didn't have enough contemporary art, or something like that. OH, THE IRONY THAT HIS SON ENDED UP WORKING THERE.

My joke was when the new director arrived in Boston, his first comment was, "So, you've fixed your public transportation since when I was here in 1993, right?"

The guy is 59 years old. I think anybody would conclude he's not here forever. A crowning achievement for him and a great way to build a legacy over a period of five or six years, no? Not just a placeholder - more - but perhaps stay long enough to carry the museum through the end of this campaign, resolve some of the outstanding issues (Forsyth building, the monstrous tower that the college wants to build across the street, re-closing the Fenway and Huntington entrances (joking!)), that sort of thing, then leave the museum in good hands for the next great young genius.

PS. Why not a woman? I don't know. I heard a rumor the selection committee interviewed many people. The MFA has plenty of women working there, and in high positions, so it's not as if it's an "old boy's club". It's practically a matriarchy. And, how cool was it that it was run by a gay man. One who loved America so much he became a US citizen!
 
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Tombstoner

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I was surprised. I've never heard his name mentioned as a shining star in terms of intellectual/curatorial leadership (and at 59 he's not a wunderkind), and, to read his bio, he doesn't have experience with fund-raising on the scale that MFA requires. So presumably, he is a solid administrator. Quite the dark horse, I thought, but I'm eager to hear his ideas on future expansion (physical and programmatic).
 

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