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Christopher Scoates named Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum
Most recently he served as Director of the University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach, a position he has held since 2005.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MICH.- The Cranbrook Educational Community Board of Trustees announced today that after a comprehensive one-year search, Christopher Scoates has been named Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum. He begins his tenure August 1.

Scoates is a graduate of Cranbrook Academy of Art, having received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography in 1986. Most recently he served as Director of the University Art Museum at California State University Long Beach, a position he has held since 2005.

Scoates succeeds Reed Kroloff, who is stepping down after seven years in the position.

“Christopher Scoates has a creative vision and eagerness to embrace new ideology and technology which make him the ideal choice to provide leadership and management during the next phase of the Academy’s and Museum’s evolution,” said Dominic DiMarco, President of Cranbrook Educational Community. “As the co-founder of 5-D: The Immersive Design Conference, a national conference focused on progressive film design, narrative media and new technology, he broke new ground in his field. I look forward to working with him on equally innovative projects at Cranbrook.”

Scoates’ appointment comes at a time of near-record enrollment at the Academy, which is consistently ranked as one of the top graduate programs in art, architecture and design in the country. As a top producer, per capita, of Fulbright scholars in the United States, the Academy’s accomplished students and alumni continue to receive awards and accolades around the world.

A native of Andover, England, Scoates is a highly regarded curator and writer whose interests encompass contemporary art and technology, design, and experimental sound. In his role at California State University Long Beach, he created innovative partnerships and programs to help expand the Museum’s vision, identity and funding base.

“Christopher’s experience with organizing pioneering exhibitions and conferences holds exciting promise for the future of the Academy and Museum,” said Maxine Frankel, Chair of the Cranbrook Academy of Art Board of Governors. As part of a gift to the Academy in 2011 from Mrs. Frankel and her husband Stuart, the position was officially renamed the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Scoates has more than 25 years of experience working with artists and educators in traditional university settings and stand-alone art schools.

His commitment to the convergence of a variety of disciplines – fine art, new media, television and pop culture – is evident in the numerous art and technology exhibitions he has curated that offer an unprecedented investigation into media’s impact on contemporary art and visual culture.

His projects have included Lou Reed, Metal Machine Trio: The Creation of the Universe, an ambisonic 3-D installation of the 1975 album, Metal Machine Music; Brian Eno: 77 Million Paintings, an evolving sound and image-scape installation; and Sound Oasis, an outdoor 3-D audio environment with 12 sound artists. He is also the author of Brian Eno: Visual Music (2013) and Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was: The Lighting and Stage Design of Andi Watson (2011).

Scoates also curated the notable exhibition Custom Built: A Twenty Year Survey of Work by Allan Wexler, which travelled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Art Center in Cincinnati and the Forum for Contemporary Art in St. Louis, and LOT-EK: MDU which traveled to Walker Art Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Last month, Scoates was among 39 museum leaders from the United States and eight countries selected by the Getty Leadership Institute at Claremont Graduate University to participate in the 2014 Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders.

“I'm honored to lead such a renowned institution into the future,” said Scoates. “Cranbrook Academy of Art's rich legacy and history of innovation have made it one of the top institutions of graduate education in the visual and fine arts. Together, the Academy and Museum share a commitment to new art and new ideas, and I look forward to developing new partnerships, alliances, and audiences that will extend both the Academy and Museum programs far beyond the walls of the campus.”

Scoates’ wife, J. Fiona Ragheb, is a graduate of Cranbrook Kingswood schools. “We are eager to welcome Chris and his family back to Cranbrook,” says DiMarco. “Welcome home.”

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