NEW ORLEANS, LA.- The Ogden Museum of Southern Art/University of New Orleans
announces that J. Richard Gruber, Ph.D., the Director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art since 1999, is retiring from the Museum and the University in order to pursue outside projects. Gruber will remain at the Museum through the end of the year.
It has been a privilege to serve as Director of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and as a member of the faculty at University of New Orleans, during an historic era in the life of this institution and the city, says Gruber. In 1999, UNO brought me here to build a new art museum complex in the Warehouse Arts District. Despite a range of challenges, much has happened in 10 yearsincluding the opening of a temporary museum on Julia Street in the fall of 1999, the grand opening of Stephen Goldring Hall in August 2003, and our serving as the first art museum to reopen after Hurricane Katrina on October 27, 2005. Since then, the museum has been a beacon for the citys cultural recovery and rebuilding. Now it is time for me to move on to other projects and new challenges.
Under Ricks leadership, the Ogden has become a dynamic cultural leader not just in New Orleans, but throughout the region, says Ogden board chair Julia Reed. I am so proud of the caliber of our shows, the extraordinary range of our programming, and our all-important educational outreach. What the museum has accomplished in 10 years is nothing short of incredible. Now we look forward to the next chapter, during which well continue to enhance and build on our current offerings, and focus on our expansion into the Clementine Hunter Educational Wing and the Patrick F. Taylor Library, which will house our 18th- and 19th-century collections.
Prior to joining the Ogden, Gruber served as Deputy Director for the Morris Museum of Art and as the founding Director of its Center for the Study of Southern Painting in Augusta, Georgia (1993-1999). He also served as Director of the Wichita Art Museum in Wichita, Kansas (1989-1991); as Curator, then Director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art in Memphis, Tennessee (1983-1989); and as Director of the Peter Joseph Gallery, in New York. After graduating from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, he earned an M.A. degree in art history from the University of Colorado at Boulder, then an M.Ph. and a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. He was awarded a Kress Foundation Fellowship and a Smithsonian Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the National Museum of American Art, and in 2007, was named the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Humanist of the Year.
Active as a curator and author, Gruber has published many books and catalogues, including: New Orleans August 2005 to August 2007: Ogden Museum of Southern Art (2007); Dunlap: William Dunlap (2006); Missing New Orleans (2005, reprinted 2006); The Art of the South, 1890-2003, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art (2004); William Christenberry: Art & Family (2000); Robert Stackhouse (1999); Wolf Kahn: Painting the South (1999); Thomas Hart Benton and the American South (1998); From Madison to Manhattan: The Art of Benny Andrews, 1948-1997 (1997); Robert Rauschenberg: Through the Lens (1996);William Christenberry: The Early Years 1954-1968 (1996); Nellie Mae Rowe (1996); The Dot Man: George Andrews of Madison, Georgia (1994); Victorian Visionary: The Art of Elliott Daingerfield (1994); We Like Ike: The Eisenhower Presidency and 1950s America (1990) and Memphis: 1948-1958 (1986). His most recent book, It Happened by Design: The Life and Work of Arthur Q. Davis, was published in 2009. Gruber was co-author with Davis.
At the Ogden, he also has been the executive producer of four award-winning documentary films produced in association with Stanley Staniski and Staniski Media, Washington, D.C. Poetic Vision: Will Henry Stevens; William Dunlap: Objects Found and Fashioned; A House of Many Memories; and The Place I Know.