Ever since Earl “Rusty” Powell III announced a year ago that he would retire after 26 years as director of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., rumors have swirled about who would be picked to succeed him. Today the answer arrived.
The NGA said this morning that Kaywin Feldman, the director of the Minneapolis Institute of Art, will be the new director of the institution. A former president of the Association of Art Museum Directors who has also served as chair of the American Alliance of Museums, Feldman will be the first woman to hold the top job at the museum.
It remains rare for a woman to be picked to lead the largest and most high-profile institutions in the United States, and some expressed disappointment earlier this year when Max Hollein was hired to run the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; that institution has never been had a female director.
The NGA’s president, Frederick W. Beinecke, said in a statement to press that Feldman, who will become the fifth director in the museum’s history, “is a dynamic and highly principled leader, a gracious collaborator, and an innovator with the skills and vision to lead the National Gallery of Art in the 21st century. For more than two decades, she has had a distinguished career as an art museum director with major successes.”
As director of the MIA since 2008, Feldman has been credited with doubling the museum’s attendance and growing the museum’s collection. She’s also served as curator on shows like an exhibition of Guillermo del Toro and “The Habsburgs: Rarely Seen Masterpieces from Europe’s Greatest Dynasty.”
Before joining the MIA, Feldman was director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, in Tennessee from 1999 to 2007.
Feldman will take up her new job on March 11, 2019.