Art Institute of Chicago names new president

Art Institute of Chicago names new president
James Rondeau the new President and Eloise W. Martin Director at the Art Institute of Chicago

Robert M. Levy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago has named James Rondeau the new President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the museum.

Rondeau will succeed Douglas Druick, who is retiring after more than 30 years of service at the Art Institute.

After an extensive international search, the museum went with a candidate from inside the institution.

Rondeau, an internationally respected curator and scholar, has led two of the Art Institute’s 11 curatorial departments in his 18 year tenure with the museum.

Joining the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998 as an Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Rondeau was named department chair in 2004.

From 2004-2014 he headed the museum’s internationally respected contemporary art program, plus serving in the interim role of Curator and Chair of Photography from 2008-2009.

More recently, Rondeau has been managing the merger of the museum’s Departments of Contemporary and Modern Art under his leadership.

“James has proven himself one of the most innovative and accomplished curators and museum leaders anywhere,” said Levy. “He understands with great insight what makes the Art Institute so powerfully exceptional—the parallel strengths of our founding encyclopedic vision and our remarkable dedication to art of the moment. He has masterfully leveraged that vision and our legacy of excellence to make sure our world-class collection feels inspirational, dynamic, and relevant. James brings a true commitment to the highest standards of scholarship and connoisseurship and deep expertise in exhibitions, research, and publications. He has a natural ability to forge strong relationships with artists and collectors and the day-to-day experience of collaborating across museum operations. These are the exact qualities we need to take the Art Institute’s international reputation and prestige to the next level,” Levy added.

Rondeau, 46, currently the Dittmer Chair and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, responded to the announcement saying the following:

“It is an incredible honor and privilege to be chosen as the Art Institute’s next director. I’ve made this extraordinary institution my professional home for nearly two decades because I believe it is one of the greatest museums in the world. I have always embraced the unique challenges of my role as a curator within the powerful context of an encyclopedic institution and I am eager to take on this new role, bringing energy and dedication to the exciting opportunities ahead. Together with our committed Board and exceptional staff, we’re ready to guide the Art Institute toward an even more ambitious future—one defined by how creatively we find new and relevant ways to meet our global audiences’ expectations, and to empower them to meaningfully engage with works of art. I regard it as the job of a lifetime.”

Rondeau earned a B.A. from Middlebury College in 1991. In 1994, he earned a M.A. in the History of Art from Williams College.

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