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Richard Armstrong Person Most Likely to Head Guggenheim According to Several Media
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Installation view of The Aztec Empire, 2004. Photo: David M. Heald, © SRGF, New York.

NEW YORK.- The New York Sun's web site published on Tuesday that Richard Armstrong is the person who will head the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation replacing Thomas Krens, who announced in February that he was stepping down after 20 years. Armstrong has led the Carnegie Museum of Art since 1996.

During Armstrong’s 12 years of leadership, Carnegie Museum of Art made significant physical improvements. Renovations to the museum’s Heinz Galleries and the expansion of its Heinz Architectural Center galleries allowed the museum’s curators to present larger, more ambitious exhibitions—among them, Aluminum by Design; Light! The Industrial Age, 1750-1900; Fierce Friends, Artists and Animals, and the 1995, 1999, 2004, and 2008 Carnegie Internationals—each of which engaged broad audiences and garnered acclaim for the museum. In 2003, the museum completed the renovations of its Scaife Galleries, home to most of its permanent collections.

Armstrong was also instrumental in building the museum’s extensive collections. Multiple acquisitions from Carnegie International exhibitions bolstered the museum’s contemporary holdings—following the dictum of museum founder Andrew Carnegie to build a collection of the “old masters of tomorrow.” Further, in 2003, the museum acquired the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive, a collection of more than 80,000 negatives by Teenie Harris, who photographed life in Pittsburgh’s African American community from the 1930s through the 1970s. The archive is considered one of the most important documentations of African American life in the 20th century. Additionally, Armstrong initiated the museum’s first joint acquisition of a work of art, Rachel Whiteread’s monumental Untitled (Domestic), with the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Dozens of other landmark works in various media from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries were acquired through purchase and gift.

Born and educated in Kansas City, Missouri, Armstrong studied at the University de Dijon and the Sorbonne in Paris, and received a B.A. in Art History from Lake Forest College, Illinois. He was a Helene Rubenstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and afterwards worked as a curator at La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, California, and in 1980 served on the artists committee that planned the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Beginning in 1981 he was associated with the Whitney Museum again, starting as a senior instructor and rising to curator in 1989. He co-organized four of the Whitney's well-known Biennial exhibitions, and organized other exhibitions of contemporary art such as Richard Artschwager (1988) and The New Sculpture 1965-7. He has served as a guest curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts and at Palacio Velasquez, Madrid, and has lectured widely and been published in a number of periodicals.

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