Called ‘dynamic’ and ‘visionary’


The Brooklyn Museum announced on Tuesday that it has named Anne Pasternak, president and artistic director of Creative Time, as its new director. Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

The Brooklyn Museum announced on Tuesday that it has named Anne Pasternak, president and artistic director of Creative Time, as its new director.

Pasternak will succeed Arnold L. Lehman, who plans to retire after 17 years as the Brooklyn Museum’s director. Pasternak will assume the directorship on September 1.

While having no prior museum experience, Pasternak reaped high praise as a visionary and dynamic force in the art world, with a track record in management and experience in interacting with government agencies and arts organizations. Departing director Arnold L. Lehman called her “one of the most dynamic and creative forces in the art world today.”

“Her management skills and passion for connecting diverse cultures and communities are evidenced by her achievements at Creative Time, which she grew from a fledgling organization to one of New York’s most effective and popular presenters of public art,” Museum chair Elizabeth A. Sackler said in a statement.

The search for the museum’s new director had captured the attention of the art world for months. Stephanie Ingrassia, board president and co-chair of the search committee, said that Pasternak was selected from a field of highly qualified, international candidates in a unanimous vote.

During her 20 years at Creative Time, the nonprofit has commissioned and presented hundreds of major public art projects in the city and elsewhere, including the iconic Tribute in Light, by Julian Laverdiere and Paul Myoda, which sends twin beams of blue light from the site of the World Trade Center on the anniversary of 9/11.

Recently in Brooklyn, Creative Time presented Kara Walker’s sugar sphinx sculpture, “A Subtlety,” at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg, and the joint project “Funk, God, Jazz & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn” at the Weeksville Heritage Center.

Pasternak was called the “ideal person to channel the creative energy of a constantly evolving Brooklyn with the Museum at its center,” by Search Committee co-chair Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein.

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised outgoing Director Lehman for transforming the museum and making it a hub for the community and an international cultural attraction, and called Pasternak an “inspired choice.” The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce also offered its hearty congratulations.

Pasternak said she was “humbled and deeply honored to follow in the footsteps of Arnold Lehman, a trailblazing director who has led the Brooklyn Museum to prominence with ambitious programming, an ethos of inclusion, and a great love of the Museum’s permanent collections.” She said the museum is “well positioned to go even further as a place for great art, learning, and civic vibrancy—in Brooklyn and beyond.”

Born in Connecticut, Pasternak, 50, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and was a Master of Arts candidate at Hunter College, from which she received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 2013. Pasternak is married to the artist Mike Starn, and they have a college-age daughter.

The Brooklyn Museum is one of the oldest and largest in the U.S., with a collection including some of the most important ancient Egyptian works in the nation, American and European art and the arts of the Pacific Islands, Asia, Africa and the Islamic world. The museum receives half a million visitors annually.

The museum is home to the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the only facility of its kind in the country.

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