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Museum Expands Leadership and Curatorial Teams


Leading Contemporary Arts Scholar Lowery Stokes Sims Appointed as Curator
Ben Hartley Appointed as Deputy Director of Planning and Strategy

New York, NY (September 7, 2007)

Holly Hotchner, Director of the Museum of Arts & Design, today announced the appointment of two new members to the Museum’s senior staff, Lowery Stokes Sims and Ben Hartley. Lowery Stokes Sims, who has seven years of experience at The Studio Museum in Harlem and 27 years from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, joins MAD’s multidisciplinary curatorial team as the Charles Bronfman Curator and will enhance its programming with her expertise in the work of African, Latino, Native and Asian American contemporary artists. With 20 years of experience in corporate and non-profit sectors, Ben Hartley will join MAD as Deputy Director of Strategy and Planning and will oversee the Museum’s development, sponsorship, marketing and public relation operations and will work to develop strategic partnerships with other cultural institutions worldwide. Both begin at the Museum in September 2007.


“As we prepare to open our new location at Columbus Circle in 2008, we are tremendously pleased to welcome Lowery and Ben to our senior staff,” said Director Holly Hotchner. “With her unparalleled experience as one of the art word’s most distinguished leaders and scholars, Lowery will bring unique perspective to our interdisciplinary field. And, as we enter this exciting new phase in our history, Ben will play an integral role in the ongoing strategic development of the Museum.”


The appointment of Sims and Hartley to the Museum’s leadership and curatorial teams reflects the ongoing growth of the Museum of Arts & Design, which will double its gallery space and further expand its public reach next year in its new home at Columbus Circle. As the country’s leading cultural institution dedicated to exploring the multiplicity of materials and techniques used by contemporary artists in the creation of their work, the Museum challenges boundaries that have traditionally separated fine art, craft, and design through its innovative programming.


“I am honored to join the staff of the Museum of Arts & Design at this important moment in the Museum’s history and look forward to returning to curatorial work full time,” said Sims. “This is an exciting opportunity for me to more fully explore the possibilities that exist in the interstices among the various genres and specializations of the art and design worlds.”

Added Hartley, “I look forward to working with the team at MAD and to helping to shape the Museum’s strategic plans and direction in preparation for the opening of its new building and beyond.”


Lowery Stokes Sims

As the Charles Bronfman Curator, Lowery Stokes Sims will work with the Museum’s interdisciplinary curatorial department, led by Chief Curator David McFadden, to organize new and innovative programs and exhibitions that explore the practices of contemporary artists from around the world, working in a full range media and techniques.


A specialist in modern and contemporary art, Sims comes to the Museum of Arts & Design from The Studio Museum in Harlem, where she served as Executive Director and then President from 2000 through 2006, and subsequently as an Adjunct Curator for the Permanent Collection. Under her leadership and curatorial guidance, the museum has become a key presenter of cutting-edge trends in contemporary art created by black artists.


Prior to these appointments, Sims was on the education and curatorial staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art for 27 years, where she curated more than 40 exhibitions on modern and contemporary art and was a strong supporter of the integration of design and architecture into the contemporary art collection. Sims has published extensively, including numerous articles, essays, catalogues and books, and her research on the work of the Afro-Cuban Chinese Surrealist artist Wifredo Lam was published by the University of Texas Press in 2002.


Sims has lectured nationally and internationally and guest curated numerous exhibitions, most recently at the National Gallery, Kingston, Jamaica (Curator’s Eye I: Celebrating Installation and Site-Specific Work in Jamaica, 2004), The Cleveland Museum of Art (The Persistence of Geometry: Form, Culture, and Content in the Collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, 2006) and the New-York Historical Society (Legacies: Contemporary Artists Reflect on Slavery, 2006). In 2003 and 2004 Sims served on the jury for the memorial for the World Trade Center and from 2004 through 2006 served as the chair of the Cultural Institutions Group, a coalition of museums, zoos, botanical gardens and performing organizations funded by the City of New York.


A fellow at the Clark Art Institute in spring 2007, Sims will be Visiting Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Queens College, New York City, in fall 2007. In 2005 and 2006 she was Visiting Professor at Queens College and Hunter College in New York City. Sims was recently appointed to the advisory committee of the New York Cultural Innovation Fund of the Rockefeller Foundation.


Sims received her doctorate degree in art history (1995) and a Master of Philosophy (1990) from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York. She holds a Master of Arts in art history from Johns Hopkins University, and Bachelor of Arts from Queens College of the City University of New York.


Ben Hartley

Joining MAD as its Deputy Director of Strategy and Planning, Ben Hartley will oversee the Museum’s development, sponsorship, marketing, public relations and online operations. He will also liaise with cultural institutions worldwide to develop strategic partnerships and programs for the Museum.


Hartley has nearly two decades of public relations and communications experience working with arts organizations, non-profit institutions and corporations. He comes to MAD from Orama Consulting, where he served as Executive Director and worked with both corporate and not-for-profit clients from around the world in areas of sponsorship, marketing, communications, research and analysis, strategic planning and project management.


Previously Hartley served as Director of Corporate Communications and Sponsorship at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, from 1996 – 2001, where he was responsible for corporate memberships and support, and participated in the planning and opening of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin. From 1992 through 1996, he was Vice President at Ruder Finn – Arts & Communications Counselors, where he developed strategic communications plans and on worked on event management, crisis communications and marketing campaigns for a range of corporate and not-for-profit clients. Hartley has also worked at New York City-based public relations agency Ellen Jacobs Associates as well as the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the Press and Marketing Department.

Hartley has been a featured speaker in numerous international conferences on branding, sponsorship and the arts, including the International Events Group conference (Chicago), the European Sponsorship Congress (London), Sponsorship Summit (Sydney), and the Visions for the 21st Century (Weimar, Germany). He has also guest lectured at Columbia University, the City University of New York and Kellogg School of Business Management, Chicago.

Hartley earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales, Australia. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Management from the City University of New York.

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