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Jewish Museum picks Helen Goldsmith Menschel as new director
NEW YORK, N.Y.- The Board of Trustees of The Jewish Museum announced that Claudia Gould has been named the institution’s new Helen Goldsmith Menschel Director. Ms. Gould is currently Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She will assume her post at The Jewish Museum in fall 2011, succeeding Joan Rosenbaum. As previously announced, Ms. Rosenbaum will retire from The Jewish Museum at the end of August 2011 upon concluding a 30-year tenure during which she transformed the institution into an international arts destination and positioned it for future growth and success.

For more than a century, The Jewish Museum has illuminated the Jewish experience and demonstrated the power of arts and Jewish culture through critically acclaimed exhibitions, related education programs, and a renowned collection of 26,000 objects that is considered among the world’s foremost holdings of Judaica and rare artifacts. Inspiring people of all religious and cultural backgrounds, while serving as a special touchstone for Jewish people, the Museum is poised to enter a new phase and reach an ever broader and more diverse audience.

Claudia Gould will lead The Jewish Museum into this next phase. In her decades as a museum and arts professional, she has been noted for her commitment to outstanding original programming and an expansive interdisciplinary approach to exhibitions, education, and public outreach. Under her guidance, the ICA in Philadelphia has tripled its exhibitions and staff, doubled its attendance, and is nearing the completion of a successful endowment campaign, all while presenting a far-reaching vision of contemporary culture in relationship to the larger sweep of history. The New York Times recently wrote of the ICA, “On a surprisingly regular basis, the Institute of Contemporary Art mounts exhibitions that make the contemporary art adventures of many larger museums look blinkered, timid and hidebound.”

Prior to joining the ICA, Ms. Gould served for six years as Executive Director of Artists Space, the landmark New York City alternative exhibition space and artist service organization dedicated to emerging artists in all mediums. Ms. Gould was the first Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, presenting path-breaking exhibitions and programs of global scope. She has been an independent curator of numerous important and critically admired international art and culture projects.

“The Board of The Jewish Museum is delighted to welcome Claudia Gould as the institution’s new Director at such a pivotal moment in its history,” said Robert A. Pruzan, Chairman of the Board and co-chair of the search committee that selected Ms. Gould. “We have been tremendously impressed by her achievements in the museum field, and by the level of intelligence, sensitivity, and flair with which she has led the institutions where she has served. Claudia’s expertise in contemporary art and culture will bring great vitality to The Jewish Museum’s mission to engage the public in enjoyment, understanding, and preservation of Jewish culture, and arts. As someone especially conversant in all the ways that museums reach and ignite interest of the public today, Claudia will help The Jewish Museum continue to engage our existing audience and speak to ever broader and more diverse new audiences, including younger generations of museumgoers.”

"I'm greatly looking forward to the opportunity to help take The Jewish Museum forward into the next phase of its history," said Ms. Gould. "I'm particularly excited to join an institution whose mission is to serve as a dynamic, accessible, and truly inclusive center of activity where visitors, artists, curators, writers, and educators all have equal access to superb permanent collections and exhibitions, and an invitation to explore with us the compelling questions of Jewish identity.”

Established in 1904 when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) as the core of a museum collection, The Jewish Museum today is devoted to preserving Jewish artistic heritage and advancing discussion concerning Jewish culture, ideas, and values in relation to the arts.

Arnold Eisen, Chancellor of JTS, commented, "We value our strong relationship with the Museum and its mission to explore art and Jewish culture through an unparalleled collection and a dynamic, interdisciplinary program. My JTS colleagues and I look forward to working with Claudia Gould and her curatorial staff as they continue the Museum's proud tradition while exploring new directions and reaching new audiences."

Joshua Nash, outgoing Board Chairman, continuing Trustee, and co-chairman of the Museum’s search committee for the new Director, commented, "Joan Rosenbaum has served The Jewish Museum longer than any previous Director and has shaped the institution more than any other individual. We are profoundly grateful for her vision, skill, and dedication, and look forward with great enthusiasm to embarking upon a new phase in our history with Claudia Gould."



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