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O'KEEFFE'S NEW CAPTAIN.

Byline: DOUGLAS FAIRFIELD I THE NEW MEXICAN New Mexico Abbr. NM or N.M. or N.Mex.

A state of the southwest United States on the Mexican border. It was admitted as the 47th state in 1912.
 

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was opened in July 1997, eleven years after the death of the American artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. It is located at 217 Johnson Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States.  will soon see new leadership in Robert A. Kret, who joins the staff as executive director on Oct. 26. He will become the museum's third director since its opening in 1997, following the departure of George King George King may refer to:
  • George King (Aetherius Society) (1919 – 1997), British founder of the Aetherius Society new religious movement
  • George King (botanist) (1840 – 1904), British botanist working in India
, who held the position for 11 years.

Kret comes from the Hunter Museum of American Art The Hunter Museum of American Art is an art museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The museum's collections include works representing the Hudson River School, 19th century genre painting, American Impressionism, the Ashcan School, early modernism, regionalism, and post World War II  in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he has served as director for nearly 10 years. Before that, he oversaw the Miami University Art Museum in Oxford, Ohio; was the director of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum is located in Wausau, Wisconsin. It is best known for its annual "Birds in Art" exhibition, which exhibits contemporary artistic representations of birds.  in Wausau, Wisconsin; and led the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, Michigan,

from 1990 to 1993.

Originally from Wyandotte, Michigan -- just south of Detroit -- Kret holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Detroit and a master's degree in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York at Oneonta History
Established in 1889 as a state normal school with the sole mission of training teachers, the College at Oneonta was a founding member of the State University of New York system in 1948.
. He began his

25-year museum career while still a student in Detroit, interning at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. He remains active in the Association of Art Museum Directors The Association of Art Museum Directors is an organization of art museums in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. External links
  • Association website

This page has few or no links to other articles.
 and the American Association of Museums The American Association of Museums (AAM) is a non-profit association that has been bringing museums together since its founding in 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the .

Kret spoke with Pasatiempo

from Chattanooga.

Pasatiempo: What was your reaction when you got the call to be the new director of the O'Keeffe Museum?

Robert Kret: If you mean the initial call from the recruiter, I was flattered to be recommended and intrigued by the possibility. I was familiar with the museum, but the more I read, the more interested I became. When everything did come together, I felt a sense of honor, responsibility, and gratitude that the museum's board has put their trust in me.

Pasa: Do you have any

history with New Mexico or

the Southwest?

Kret: If San Antonio counts, I spent five months working construction between undergraduate and graduate school. Otherwise, New Mexico will be a welcomed new adventure.

Pasa: Do you hold any particular affinity for O'Keeffe's work? And related to that, what else about American art especially interests you?

Kret: I am very interested in O'Keeffe's art. I've seen several exhibitions, attended lectures, and read numerous catalogs and books about her work.

I find myself drawn to her paintings of buildings in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 and to her intimate watercolors. I am also drawn to early modernism, especially work by Marsden Hartley, Charles Sheeler, Arthur Dove, Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, and Thomas Hart Benton. There were so many changes happening in the country at that time, and I think these artists were

striving to capture that change in their work.

In terms of my niche in American art, I confess that I know more about the whole of museums than I do about a single period, movement, or individual artist. I've always liked the Louise Bourgeois quote: "Art is not about art, art is about life." Over the last 25 years or so, I've spent a great deal of time thinking about the role of art museums in their communities and have been inspired by the writings of Steven Weil, Elaine Gurian,

John Falk, George Hein, and David Carr. I have spent time in museums

in 31 states, the District of Columbia District of Columbia, federal district (2000 pop. 572,059, a 5.7% decrease in population since the 1990 census), 69 sq mi (179 sq km), on the east bank of the Potomac River, coextensive with the city of Washington, D.C. (the capital of the United States). , and seven countries.

Although I have a great appreciation for a wide variety of art, I am

most drawn to architecture, particularly contemporary architecture, including that by Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe Van Der Ro·he  

See Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe.
, and Santiago Calatrava. I also have a very strong interest in sculpture. I am currently working on a sculpture project with a number of artists including Robert Stackhouse, Carol Mickett, Terry Allen, Bart Walter, and Dennis Oppenheim.

Pasa: Coming from a museum with an eclectic collection, will the O'Keeffe Museum, with its focus on one artist, be a challenge for you?

Kret: Although the focus of the museum is definitely Georgia O'Keeffe, there is also an emphasis on modernism. I think one is only limited by one's imagination. The houses at Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, as well as the research center, provide additional scope.

Pasa: It seems to be true that museum directors shift gears and move every five to seven years. Your tenure at the Hunter exceeded the norm. Were you ready for a change?

Kret: The short answer is that the timing was right, professionally and personally. When I started at the Hunter, I told the search committee that if I were to become the director, I planned to stay eight to 10 years. At the time, it felt like that duration would be appropriate considering what could be accomplished professionally and what ages our kids would be by 2008 to 2010. With my wife, Tedi, we have three kids -- a senior in college,

a senior in high school, and an eighth-grader.

Pasa: How do you perceive the Santa Fe art community?

Kret: I've read that Santa Fe is the third largest art market in the country. I've observed a high concentration of commercial galleries and a variety of festivals. I am also impressed with the number of cultural organizations, including both visual and performing arts. I have heard great things about the Santa Fe Opera The Santa Fe Opera (SFO) is an American opera company, located 7 miles north of Santa Fe in the U.S. state of New Mexico, headquartered on a former guest ranch of 199 acres.  and look forward to experiencing the art community firsthand.

Pasa: Given your museum credentials, what's the single most important thing you'll bring to the O'Keeffe?

Kret: How about two things: leadership and experience. Directors of art museums have to find the right balance between being able to manage up, down, and sideways. They have to be strategic thinkers, problem solvers, and motivators. They have to be successful fundraisers, work with the curatorial and educational staffs, understand operations, and be conversant CONVERSANT. One who is in the habit of being in a particular place, is said to be conversant there. Barnes, 162.  with public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most  and marketing. Successful directors are also excellent communicators, both internally and externally, and it doesn't hurt to have

a good sense of humor Noun 1. sense of humor - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humour, humor, humour
. <
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Title Annotation:Pasatiempo
Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Sep 18, 2009
Words:961
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