Blanton Museum of Art

Rifkin takes the reins

Dr. Ned Rifkin
Dr. Ned Rifkin

"No one who loves art wants to be an administrator. I am at the point in my life where I am going to be careful about the next job. What is important is the fit."

That's Dr. Ned Rifkin talking to The Washington Post's Jacqueline Trescott following the announcement of his resignation as undersecretary for art at the Smithsonian Institution in March 2008. One must presume then that the job of directing the Blanton Museum of Art has the fit of a Savile Row suit. On May 1, just a year after taking a self-described sabbatical from the administrative life, Rifkin is back in management mode, taking the reins from interim Director Ann Wilson, who got the assignment following Jessie Otto Hite's retirement after 15 years as director.

Perhaps the prospect of overseeing one museum instead of the six Rifkin supervised at the Smithsonian made the position more appealing to him. Or maybe the chance to get back in the classroom was part of the draw. (Come fall, he'll also be a professor of art and art history in the University of Texas College of Fine Arts.) Possibly he liked the idea of serving as special adviser to President William Powers Jr. on the visual arts for the 40 Acres and the UT collections. Or maybe he was simply eager to get back to the Lone Star State. (His first job was teaching art at UT-Arlington in the late Seventies, and he did a stint as director of the Menil Collection and Foundation in Houston, too.) Whatever did the trick, he's here, and here's hoping it's the fit he was looking for. We welcome him.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Blanton Museum of Art
Kambui Olujimi Speaks Art to Power in
Kambui Olujimi Speaks Art to Power in "Zulu Time"
This Brooklyn artist’s solo exhibition at the Blanton shows how those in power make sure the world runs on their watch

Barbara Purcell, March 15, 2019

"Vincent Valdez: The City" at the Blanton
The artist's epic portrait of Klanspeople is all the more frightening for the mundane character of its subjects

Melany Jean, Sept. 14, 2018

More by Robert Faires
What To See When You Aren't Catching Moontower Comedy's Big Shows
What To See When You Aren't Catching Moontower Comedy's Big Shows

April 19, 2019

Seeing the Fusebox Festival Without Reservations
Seeing the Fusebox Festival Without Reservations
Tickets to some shows have been snapped up, but there's still plenty of electric Fusebox action available

April 12, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Blanton Museum of Art, Ned Rifkin, Ann Wilson, Jessie Otto Hite

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle