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Pulitzer Foundation Appoints Menil Collection Curator Kristina Van Dyke as New Director
Ms. Van Dyke is currently the Curator for Collections and Research at The Menil Collection in Houston.

ST. LOUIS, MO.- The Board of Trustees of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts today announced its unanimous decision to appoint Kristina Van Dyke as Director, following an intensive international search. Ms. Van Dyke, currently the Curator for Collections and Research at The Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, will begin working full-time at the Foundation on November 7. Joining the Pulitzer as it prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary, she will work closely with Trustees and staff to oversee the exhibitions program, as well as other scholarly, artistic and community-related programming, including the contemporary chamber music series. Ms. Van Dyke succeeds Matthias Waschek, who served as Director of the Foundation for more than seven years.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate that Kristina Van Dyke will lead the Foundation in the next phase of its development,” said Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Founder of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Chair of the Board of Trustees. “She brings to the Pulitzer a rare combination of curatorial acumen, intellectual curiosity and vitality, dedication to education and community service and a true passion for art and its transformative power. Her past installations have shown a sensitivity to the works of art and how they relate to the space in which they are viewed, which is integral to the experience of the Pulitzer’s installations of art in the Tadao Ando-designed building.”

“It is an honor to have been selected as the new Director of The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts,” Ms. Van Dyke said. “Coming from an institution that shares much of the Pulitzer’s philosophy and values, including a commitment to creating a highly personal and spiritual experience with art and to taking creative risks that advance museum practice and scholarship, I identify strongly with the Foundation’s dual role as an art sanctuary and a laboratory of innovative thinking. I am excited about the path-breaking work the Pulitzer is doing, from its multi-sensory artistic program to its unique approach to social and community engagement. With the support and collaboration of Emily Pulitzer, the staff and Trustees, I look forward to building on the Foundation’s remarkable achievements as it moves into its next decade.”

As the Curator for Collections and Research at The Menil Collection, Ms. Van Dyke co-managed the Curatorial Department; supervised the Exhibition Department, Archives, and Library; initiated scholarly research and projects on the collection of 17,000 objects; worked closely with the Development Department to raise funds for research and exhibitions; and acted as The Menil Collection liaison with the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Foundation. She joined the Menil in 2005 and served as Associate Curator for Collections until 2009. She also has served as an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Art History at Rice University in Houston.

Since arriving at the Menil, Van Dyke has curated Insistent Objects: David Levinthal’s Blackface; Chance Encounters: the Formation of the de Menils’ African Collection; Objects of Devotion; and Body in Fragments, as well as initiating exhibitions and publications on the Oceanic and Byzantine collections. In 2008, she reinstalled the African galleries and published “African Art from the Menil Collection,” and in 2011 she reinstalled the Pacific Islands gallery. Van Dyke is currently developing a study of Malian antiquities and an exhibition focusing on contemporary African art spanning Houston and Lagos that will result in simultaneous exhibitions in both locations.

Van Dyke received her M.A. from Williams College and her Ph.D. from Harvard University and completed her dissertation on the nature of representation in the oral cultures of Mali.

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