The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has named Christopher Bedford its new director, effective August 15. Bedford, who currently serves as the Henry and Lois Foster director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, will succeed Doreen Bolger as the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis director.
Bedford will be the BMA’s tenth director in its 102-year history. As director of the Rose Art Museum, Bedford has lead the development of exhibitions and acquisition of new works for the museum’s permanent collection, and has augmented the board of advisers as well as the museum’s staff. While at the Rose, Bedford commissioned a sculpture by Chris Burden, Light of Reason (2014), to embellish the entrance of the museum. During his tenure, Bedford also garnered many significant gifts of artwork, including philanthropist Peter Norton’s donation of 41 works by artists including Doug Aitken, Mark Dion, Nicole Eisenman, Omer Fast, Mike Kelley, Gabriel Kuri, Christian Marclay, Damián Ortega, Kara Walker, Christopher Wool, and Lisa Yuskavage. At the Rose, Bedford also curated a number of solo exhibitions by artists such as Dion, Burden, Mark Bradford, Gillian Wearing, Mika Rottenberg, and Walead Beshty.
Previously, Bedford had worked as chief curator at the Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University, and as assistant curator and consulting curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, respectively. Bedford was recently appointed commissioner for the U.S. Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, which will be showing new work by Mark Bradford.
Bedford joins the BMA at a crucial moment in the museum’s history. Having just celebrated its centennial in 2014, the BMA recently completed an ambitious philanthropic campaign, raising $80.7 million and accruing almost 4,000 donations of artwork. The museum also finished a $28 million renovation that revamped its contemporary, American, African, and Asian art galleries.