Blanton Museum of Art
Rifkin resigns as director in order to teach
Two years inside an arts institution can feel like a generation given the intensity involved in planning and preparing projects, setting budgets, raising funds, and all. And maybe that's how it felt to Ned Rifkin, director of the Blanton Museum of Art, because he'll be leaving that position on May 31, only two years after taking it on, according to an announcement from the University of Texas last week. As part of his job package when he took the museum job, Rifkin was made a professor in the Department of Art and Art History, which allowed him to return to teaching, and he'll continue to hold that position. In fact, in the UT press release Rifkin cites teaching as the chief cause for leaving his administrative duties: "I had forgotten how much I love to work closely with students on developing their learning skills. Much as I will miss working with the outstanding staff at The Blanton, I believe my eagerness to teach more and my desire to pursue meaningful research on a variety of topics will better suit me."
Succeeding Rifkin will be Simone Wicha, the museum's deputy director for external affairs and operations. She was named to that position last year after four years as director of development, during which she completed the $83.5 million capital campaign for the Blanton's new buildings and gave a boost to the annual giving program. A UT alum with a bachelor's degree in mathematics, Wicha has also served as director of development for the Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum in Long Island City, Queens, N.Y., and director of annual giving for the Julliard School in New York City.