The Art Institute of Chicago has announced that James Rondeau, current curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, will succeed Douglas Druick as the president and Eloise W. Martin director. Robert M. Levy, chairman of the Board of Trustees, announced the decision early Thursday morning.
Rondeau has been with the Art Institute for eighteen years and led two curatorial departments during his tenure. His hire comes after an international search, but continues a recent tradition of the Art Institute selecting its director from within the institution. Douglas Druick, whom Rondeau will replace, was with the Art Institute in curatorial roles for more than twenty years before he took the role of director in 2011.
On the announcement of the appointment, Levy said, “James brings a true commitment to the highest standards of scholarship and connoisseurship and deep expertise in exhibitions, research and publications. He has a natural ability to forge strong relationships with artists and collectors and the day-to-day experience of collaborating across museum operations. These are the exact qualities we need to take the Art Institute’s international reputation and prestige to the next level.”
Rondeau joined the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998 as an associate curator of Contemporary Art and became department chair in 2004. From 2008-2009, he took on the additional role of interim curator and chair of photography. Under Rondeau, the museum merged the Departments of Contemporary and Modern Art. Rondeau’s tenure has been marked by major gifts and exhibitions, most notably in 2015 when he secured the largest gift of art in the museum’s history—the Edlis/Neeson Collection, the recent installation of which has been received with mixed critical reviews.
Rondeau has organized major exhibitions at the Art Institute, including the recent “Charles Ray: Sculpture, 1998-2015,”, 2014-2015; “Steve McQueen,” 2012; “Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective,”; “Cy Twombly, The Natural World, Selected Works, 2000-2007,” 2009; “Jasper Johns: Gray 1955-2005” (with Douglas Druick), 2007. (Elliot J. Reichert)
Elliot J. Reichert is a Chicago-based curator, critic, and editor. He is a currently a Hatch Projects Curatorial Resident at the Chicago Artist Coalition and Art Editor of Newcity. Formerly, he was Assistant Curator at the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University. His writing has been published in The Brooklyn Rail, the Journal of Visual Culture, and Newcity.