Minneapolis Institute of Art Names Ghenete Zelleke Head of Decorative Arts and Sculpture Department


Ghenete Zelleke.


The Minneapolis Institute of Art has announced the appointment of Ghenete Zelleke as the new James Ford Bell curator of decorative arts and sculpture and head of the department of decorative arts, textiles, and sculpture, effective this August. Zelleke will be replacing Eike Schmidt, who left MIA to direct the Uffizi Gallery last October. In her new role, she will head the scholarship, curatorial organization, and preservation of over 18,000 works from all over Europe and America, dating from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Zelleke previously served at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she worked as Samuel and M. Patricia Grober Curator of European Decorative Arts since 1998. During her time there, she curated a variety of exhibitions including “Charles Rennie Mackintosh,” “Eighteenth-Century French Vincennes-Sèvres Porcelain,” “Spiritual Expressions: Art for Private Contemplation and Public Celebration,” and “Arts and Crafts in Vienna: Furniture Designed by Josef Hoffmann.”

Zelleke earned a master’s degree in history of European decorative arts offered jointly by Cooper Hewitt and the Parsons School of Design, and received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Cambridge.

In a statement, Matthew Welch, MIA’s deputy director and chief curator, said,

“Ghenete is widely admired for her fine ‘eye’ and demanding standards for high artistic excellence. She added many stellar examples of porcelain, furniture, silver and glass to the collection during her time at the AIC. We anticipate similarly news-worthy acquisitions in Minneapolis.”

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