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Art Institute of Chicago has a New Director - James Rondeau

  • James Rondeau
January 29, 2016
Jan is journalist based in Amsterdam. He writes a blogabout food, traveling, art and expat life. He hosts radio shows and podcasts as Bojan Arsenović.

Contemporary art curator and scholar James Rondeau is appointed as the new president and Eloise W. Martin director of the Art Institute of Chicago. The announcement was ran today, some four months after the current president Douglas Druick revealed his plans for retirement after more than 30 years at the Art Institute and four years at his current position. Rondeau himself has spent almost two decades in this institution so the choice shouldn’t surprise us. The curator said he regards working in the Institute as a job of a lifetime.

James Rondeau
Art Institute of Chicago (via Jonathan Ricke on Flickr)

James Rondeau: 18 Years at the Art Institute

When searching for Druick’s successor, the board of the Institute didn’t have to look far. James Rondeau has spent 18 years in that institution and led led two of the 11 curatorial departments at the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently the Dittmer Chair and Curator of Modern and Contemporary. From 2008 to 2009 he was the interim curator and chairman of the photography department. Recently, he oversaw the merging of the department of modern and contemporary art. James Rondeau curated several high profile exhibitions at the Institute. His curations including Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1997-2014, Steve McQueen and Cy Twombly, the Natural World, Selected Works, 2000-2007. The exhibition Jasper Johns: Gray 1955-2015, curated by Rondeau, won the International Art Critics Association (AICA) award for the best monographic exhibition in the United States of America in 2007. He also took part in facilitating the largest art gift in the museum’s history, when two private collectors gave 40 pieces of art (worth 400 million dollars in total) to the Institute.

James Rondeau curating the famous Lichtenstein exhibition

From Contecticut to Venice Biennial

Prior to his work at the Art Institute of Chicago, James Rondeau was curating exhibitions at Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, where he organized numerous exhibitions including the ones of Pipilotti Rist, Byron Kim and The LeWitt Collection. Rondeau was a co-curator and commissioner of Robert Gober’s presentation for the United States Pavilion of the 49th Venice Biennial in 2001. Rondeau also took part in Art Basel both as a panelist and a curator.

James Rondeau
Douglas Druick is finishing his work at the Art Institute of Chicago on a high note. (via BizJournals)

Douglas Druick Is Leaving in Grand Style

Rondeau, who started working at the Institute as an associate curator of contemporary art in 1998. According to the chairman of the Institute’s board Robert M. Levy, Rondeau has since proven he’s one of the most original and accomplished museum leaders in the world. In the meantime, Douglas Druick is finishing his work at the Art Institute of Chicago on a high note. Earlier this week the Art Institute received the largest cash gift in it’s history. The donation of 35 million dollars was given to the institution by the philanthropist Dorothy Braude Edinburg.

What do you think, did the board make the right decision? Tell us through our Facebook page.Featured image: James Rondeau, via Chicago Tribune. All images for illustrative purposes only.