Anthony G. Hirschel appointed new director of Smart Museum of Art
The University of Chicago News Office
March 29, 2005 Press Contact: Josh Schonwald
(773) 702-6421

Anthony G. Hirschel appointed new director of Smart Museum of Art

    Anthony G. Hirschel Anthony G. Hirschel

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Christine Carrino
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Anthony G. Hirschel has been appointed Dana Feitler Director of the University of Chicago’s David & Alfred Smart Museum of Art by Richard Saller, Provost of the University of Chicago. Hirschel previously served as the Director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and brings 20 years of museum and teaching experience to the Smart Museum. Hirschel will begin his tenure as the Smart Museum’s director in June.

“We are delighted to welcome Tony Hirschel to Chicago to lead the Smart in its continuing commitment to excellence in promoting the understanding of the visual arts among a range of audiences that includes the entire campus community, the city of Chicago, and the arts-interested world at large,” Saller said of the appointment. “As director, he will guide an ambitious new phase of growth that builds on the Smart’s impressive successes during the last several years. In addition to further raising the museum’s profile and strengthening its collections, programs, and governing infrastructure, Tony will also oversee planning and development efforts for an expansion of the museum’s facilities.”

“I am very pleased to be joining the Smart Museum of Art at this critical point in its history,” Hirschel said. “It is an honor to have been invited to lead so vibrant an institution; I look forward very much to working with the Museum’s remarkable staff and the University of Chicago’s renowned faculty and students. The Smart’s legacy of stimulating collaborations in its own community and around the world offers rich possibilities for future projects. I could not be more enthusiastic about the Museum’s prospects and I am eager to begin.”

As the Director of the Indianapolis Museum of Art from 2001 to 2004, Hirschel oversaw a $220 million capital campaign and the ambitious expansion of the museum’s facilities. Over this same period, the museum organized several national and international touring exhibitions including Asia in America: Views of Chinese Art from the Indianapolis Museum of Art (2004-05); Giovanni Bellini and the Art of Devotion (2004); and The Fabric of Moroccan Life (2002). The museum also made several major acquisitions that further enhanced its world-renowned collections, including those of Chinese painting and Neo-Impressionist painting, as well as significantly expanded its technology initiatives in the areas of collections interpretation and education. During his tenure, Hirschel was an advocate for museum accessibility and audience diversity and fostered the museum’s relationships with community organizations and schools.

Hirschel also comes to the Smart Museum with an understanding of the unique role of university art museums. Prior to moving to Indianapolis, Hirschel served as the Director of the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University (1997-2001). While there, he led a successful effort to acquire the most important collection of ancient Egyptian funerary art to come on the market in the last half century and then guided its reinstallation in collaboration with the museum’s architect Michael Graves. At Emory University and previously as Director of the Bayly Art Museum at the University of Virginia (1991-1997), Hirschel worked in consultation with faculty, administrators, and student groups to expand and integrate the museum’s activities with University life.

Richard Gray, Chair of the Smart Museum’s Board of Governors, remarked, “Tony is exactly the right person coming to the Smart at exactly the right time. Having propelled the Smart into the first rank of university museums during the last decade, the Board of Governors looks forward to working with him to maintain its momentum.”

Hirschel received a B.A. in European history and art history from the University of Michigan, where he graduated summa cum laude, and a M.A. and M.Phil. in art history from Yale University. In 1987 he became the Assistant to the Director at the Yale University Art Gallery and in 1991 was named Assistant Director. Hirschel is an alumnus of the Museum Management Institute, now known as the Getty Leadership Institute, a prestigious professional development program run by the American Federation of Arts. Additionally, he served on the Board of Trustees of the American Federation of Arts since 1999 and the Board of Trustees of the Association of Art Museum Directors from 2002 to 2004.

A portion of the Smart Museum’s general operating funds for 2004-2005 has been provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the Chicago Community Trust. Smart Museum exhibitions and related programs are generously supported by the Smart Family Foundation; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Tom and Janis McCormick and the Kanter Family Foundation; Nuveen Investments; the Rhoades Foundation; the Eloise W. Martin Fund; the Office of the Provost, the Visiting Committee on the Visual Arts, University of Chicago; and the Friends of the Smart Museum. Education programs are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation; and Kraft Foods.
Last modified at 02:55 PM CST on Tuesday, March 29, 2005.

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