The Metropolitan Museum of Art has appointed Max Hollein as its next Director, the museum announced. Hollein begins his new role as the 10th director of the iconic New York City art museum this summer.

Hollein currently leads the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He began his career at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, and was subsequently the Director and CEO of three of Germany's most prestigious art institutions, including the Städel Museum, Frankfurt. 

Max Hollein at the opening of the Monet exhibition in the Städel Museum in 2015. Photo: Strandgut87 via Wikipedia.

"The Board of Trustees is delighted to announce the appointment of Max Hollein as the tenth Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," Daniel Brodsky, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, stated in the announcement. "He is an innovative and inspiring museum leader and has a proven record of building collections and organizing outstanding exhibitions. His knowledge of and passion for art is expansive, and we have great confidence that he will develop a shared vision and a strong collaboration with our extraordinary curators, conservators, program leaders, and supporters."

As Director, Hollein will report to The Met's President and CEO, Dan Weiss, with both men reporting to the Board of Trustees. Hollein will be responsible for the artistic vision and leadership of the Museum and its encyclopedic collection of nearly 2 million objects spanning 5,000 years.

The Director's responsibilities include oversight of the Museum's curatorial, conservation, and scientific research departments; its exhibition and acquisition activities; education and public outreach; and other mission-oriented areas, including the libraries, digital initiatives, publications, imaging, the registrar, and design.

"The Met is recognized around the world as a leader in the museum field by virtue of its exceptional collection, groundbreaking scholarship, and educational outreach," Hollein stated. "Founded on the idea of bringing the cultures of the world to one place, The Met remains a unique place where visitors can experience firsthand the artistic achievements of humankind....Celebrating artistic excellence goes hand in hand with broadening the stories we tell about the works of art in our care. Together with Dan, I hope to provide the guidance, energy, and support needed to lead this beloved institution into the future and inspire its audiences in New York and around the world."

Hollein's appointment follows a yearlong search led by the Museum's Search Committee, which was co-chaired by Candace Beinecke and Richard Chilton. The search began with the development of a job description informed by the participation of more than 400 staff, trustees, and supporters. The committee then received approximately 100 nominations, comprising a broad and diverse pool, and met more than 25 times before and during the interview process.

"The Met is the largest museum in the United States and one of the largest in the world," Chilton stated in the announcement. "Max's passion for encyclopedic museums, for art, for scholarship, and for engaging local and global audiences is a wonderful fit for The Met."

Born in Vienna, Hollein studied art history at the University of Vienna (Masters of Art History, summa cum laude) and business administration at the Vienna University of Economics. He began his career at the Guggenheim Museum as Chief of Staff and Executive Assistant to the Director.

After six years he moved to Frankfurt to lead the Schirn Kunsthalle, which focuses on modern and contemporary art, and in 2006 was appointed to lead, in addition, the Städel Museum, which houses one of Germany's most outstanding collections of old master, nineteenth-century, and modern art, and the Liebieghaus, whose world-renowned sculpture collection ranges from ancient Egypt to Neoclassicism.

During his tenure in Frankfurt, Hollein's accomplishments included doubling the gallery space of the Städel Museum; developing a major digital strategy and redefining the museum's communications and marketing; establishing new collecting areas; and implementing three of the most ambitious exhibition programs in Europe, which together cover thousands of years, from antiquities to contemporary art.

All three institutions experienced unprecedented growth during his tenure and saw record levels of attendance. The Städel was named Museum of the Year by the German members of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Mr. Hollein's digital innovations at the Frankfurt museums became a role model for other institutions throughout Europe.

In addition, Hollein has organized a number of major exhibitions in modern and contemporary art, larger survey shows, and special projects such as the American pavilion at the Seventh Venice Architecture Biennale (2000) and the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale (2005). His exhibition on Julian Schnabel opens in San Francisco this month.

During Hollein's tenure Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, he reorganized the management team and establishing an outstanding program of contemporary art. He also pioneered acquisitions in underrepresented areas of the collection and implemented an ambitious exhibition program. The museum is the largest public arts institution in Northern California and has a collective membership of more than 100,000 with an educational program that serves over 200,000 students. .

In addition, Hollein is the editor and author of numerous exhibition catalogues in the area of nineteenth century and modern and contemporary art as well as other museum publications, books, and essays. He has lectured extensively on the history of museums, museum management, the art market, and modern and contemporary art. 

The Met has hit several milestones in the past year. Visitorship exceeded 7 million annual visitors for the first time. The Museum was named the world's number one museum by TripAdvisor for an unprecedented third consecutive year, and the exhibition program received exceptional critical acclaim.

The Met had one of its strongest fundraising years in its 147-year history, and also built upon its collection with significant gifts of art and acquisitions. This is also the second year in a financial transformation that has put The Met on a path to achieve a balanced budget by 2020.


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