The Toledo Museum of Art announced today that Brian P. Kennedy, director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, has accepted the position as the Museum's ninth director with a start date of September 1. Board Chair Betsy Brady and George Chapman, head of the search committee, made the announcement this morning at the Museum.
"The Museum conducted an international search for its next director. We were pleased to have an exemplary group of candidates presented to the committee," said George Chapman. "This was a very positive process that affirmed both the Museum's standing in the art world and the desire of many talented people to work with our collections, our staff and our community."
Kennedy has been at the Hood Museum of Art since 2005. Previously, he served as director of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (1997-2004) and assistant director of the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (1989-1997). "Brian is well recognized internationally as an exciting young director," said Betsy Brady, chair of the Board of Directors. "He has a warm, friendly personality, a desire for both excellence and diversity, creative energy, and a love of active community engagement that make him a great fit for Toledo."
"I am delighted to be coming to Northwest Ohio to lead the Toledo Museum of Art," said Kennedy. "Its staff, collections and facilities are of the highest quality. I look forward to building on its achievement and becoming closely involved with the Toledo community, renowned for its warmth of manner, and support for its distinguished art museum."
With 70,000 objects, the Hood Museum of Art boasts one of the largest and finest collections at any American institution of higher learning. Kennedy promoted a global art focus at Dartmouth, as evidenced by the broad array of large and small-scale exhibitions and corresponding publications mounted during his directorship. Significant acquisitions were made by gift or purchase, including important collections of Native American and Australian Aboriginal art, Indonesian textiles, and modern art; and a new series of public contemporary art projects featuring artists from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds was launched.
While in Australia, he made many notable acquisitions, including works by Luca Giordano, Pierre Bonnard, David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Gerhard Richter, Xhang Xiaogang, Frank Stella, Karen Lamonte, obtained generous private funding from donors and collected widely across various media for the national art collections. He increased access to the collections by implementing a free admission policy and expanding the museum's traveling exhibitions and loans program throughout the country.
Kennedy received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from University College, Dublin, where he received highest honors for his studies in the history of art and history. He is a prolific author and editor, with numerous books and articles to his credit, most recently a 2008 publication on Irish-born artist Sean Scully and a forthcoming book on American painter and printmaker Frank Stella. He holds a faculty appointment as an adjunct professor in the art history department at Dartmouth, the first Hood director to be offered such an appointment since 1991.
Kennedy is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, American Association of Museums, and the International Association of Art Critics. He was chair of the Irish Association of Art Historians from 1996-1997 and the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors, 2001-2003. In 2003, the Australian Federal Government awarded Kennedy a Centenary of Federation medal for Service to Australian Society and its Art.
Kennedy, his wife Mary, and teenage son Eamon will be relocating to the Toledo area. His daughter, Anne, is a student at the University of New Hampshire.