Blanton Museum of Art

Rifkin resigns as director in order to teach

Ned Rifkin
Ned Rifkin (Photo by John Anderson)

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 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  

More Blanton Museum of Art
"Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite"
Images from a decade of building Black identity and community say it loud

Robert Faires, Aug. 6, 2021

The Blanton Museum Undertakes a $35 Million Makeover of Its Grounds
The Blanton Museum Undertakes a $35 Million Makeover of Its Grounds
With the international architectural firm Snøhetta, the UT museum will add community spaces and art to its outdoor experience

Robert Faires, Jan. 22, 2021

More by Robert Faires
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Last Bow of an Accidental Critic
Lessons and surprises from a career that shouldn’t have been

Sept. 24, 2021

"Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams" Tells the Story of an Artist
The first-ever museum exhibition of Daniel Johnston's work digs deep into the man, the myths

Sept. 17, 2021


Blanton Museum of Art, Ned Rifkin, Simone Wicha

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

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