Lisa Dennison Named Director of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Lisa Dennison Named Director of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum


(New York, September 21, 2005). Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, announced today that Lisa Dennison has been named to a newly created position, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, effective October 1. Ms. Dennison has held the position of Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Guggenheim since 1996, and has been a member of the Curatorial Department since 1978. The promotion was ratified unanimously by the Board of Trustees of the Foundation on September 20. Ms. Dennison will report to Mr. Krens.


“For 27 years, Lisa Dennison has proved to be one of the Guggenheim’s greatest assets,” said Mr. Krens. “She has a rare combination of curatorial expertise, managerial skills, and proven fundraising ability. This promotion is richly deserved.”

The creation of this new position represents a strengthening of the managerial structure of the Foundation, which currently operates museums in New York, Venice, Bilbao, Berlin, and Las Vegas. It follows precedents set by naming Juan Ignacio Vidarte as Director-General of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in 1997, and promoting Philip Rylands from Deputy Director to Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, in Venice, in 2000.

As Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Ms. Dennison will work to enhance its permanent collection and oversee its exhibition program, and she will play a central role in its forthcoming capital campaign. “Having served under two extraordinary Foundation Directors, Thomas Messer and Thomas Krens, I am deeply honored to assume this new role,” said Ms. Dennison. “I look forward to working closely with Tom Krens, and to leading the exceptionally talented staff in New York.” Ms. Dennison will continue in her role as chief curator.

Mr. Krens, the chief executive and chief artistic officer of the Foundation, will continue to focus his attention on developing and coordinating the overall exhibitions program of the five constituent Guggenheim museums; coordinating operations and increasing efficiencies in areas of joint operations, publications, public relations, and corporate fund-raising; strengthening the profile of the Guggenheim Foundation internationally; and managing the growth of the institution through new partnerships abroad.

According to William Mack, Chairman of the Foundation, “Under Tom Krens’s leadership, the Guggenheim Foundation has evolved to become a very different organization than it was when he came on board in 1988. Through the network of museums he has created, the Guggenheim now welcomes more than 2.5 million visitors per year at five locations in the U.S. and Europe. In particular, he has dramatically increased the size and scope of the collection, the quality of the programming, and the number of visitors to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

“Tom has brought the New York museum to the point where he believes it would benefit from its own director, and the Board agrees that now is a good time to make this move. Lisa Dennison is the perfect choice. I have no doubt that Tom and Lisa will make a great team, and as a result, the Foundation and the Museum will achieve even greater success.”

Lisa Dennison
Lisa Dennison earned her B.A. from Wellesley College in 1975, concentrating in art history and French, and an M.A. in art history from Brown University in 1978. After curatorial internships at the Guggenheim Museum (1973), the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University (1974–76), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1977–78), she joined the staff of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as an Exhibition Coordinator. In this position, she worked closely with the distinguished curator Diane Waldman, then the Deputy Director. Ms. Dennison aided her in the preparation of several important exhibitions, including Arshile Gorky, 1904–1948: A Retrospective (1981). She was promoted to Assistant Curator in 1981, Associate Curator in 1990, Collections Curator in 1991, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions in 1994, and Deputy Director and Chief Curator in 1996.

Ms. Dennison has organized numerous exhibitions of modern art and contemporary art at the Guggenheim, either as a sole curator or in collaboration with colleagues. Among these are: the 1985 and 1986 Exxon Exhibitions, Geometric Abstraction and Minimalism in America (1989), The Guggenheim Museum and the Art of This Century (1992), Ross Bleckner (1995), The Hugo Boss Prize: 1996 (1996), Rendezvous: Masterpieces from the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums (1998), Clemente (1999), Rachel Whiteread: Transient Spaces (2001), Moving Pictures (2002), Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present (2004), and The Eye of the Storm: Works in situ by Daniel Buren (2005). Ms. Dennison has also organized numerous exhibitions based on the Guggenheim Museum’s renowned permanent collection, both within the Guggenheim network and for other major institutions around the world. She is the author of more than 25 essays in catalogues that accompanied these and the other exhibitions she organized.

In addition to organizing exhibitions, Ms. Dennison has played a key role in building the permanent collections in New York and Bilbao, both through individual acquisitions and through the Guggenheim’s three main collection committees: The International Director’s Council; the Photography Committee; and the Young Collectors Council. As Deputy Director, she has overseen several museum departments, including Curatorial, Education, Conservation, and Individual Development.

Ms. Dennison is active in several other not-for-profit institutions. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Museum Curators, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Byrd-Hoffman Foundation. She is a Founding Member of the Creative Arts Advisory Board of Brown University, and is on the New York Committee of the Wellesley College Friends of Art; the National Advisory Council, Visual Arts, Wake Forest University; and the International Advisory Board of the Louise T. Blouin Foundation. In addition, she is a member of ArtTable. Ms. Dennison resides in New York City with her husband and two sons.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Completed in 1959, the Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright–designed museum is among the 20th century’s most important architectural landmarks. Many of the Guggenheim Foundation’s major exhibitions premier here, but its galleries are also used to exhibit the Museum’s renowned collection of modern art, which range from Impressionism through contemporary art. Annual attendance at the Museum averages more than 900,000 visitors, and its education programs reach more than 170,000 people every year.

#1024 September 20, 2005 FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Anthony Calnek/Betsy Ennis Public Affairs Department (212) 423-3840


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