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Ukrainian Marta Kuzma named dean of Yale School of Art

Ukrainian Marta Kuzma will be the first female dean of the oldest art school in the United States
Ukrainian Marta Kuzma named dean of Yale School of Art

Marta Kuzma, vice chancellor and rector of the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden, will be the next dean of the Yale School of Art, announced President Peter Salovey February 9 in a message to the Yale community.

Kuzma will be the first woman to lead the School of Art, which opened in 1869 as the nation’s first art school connected with an institution of higher learning. She was chosen after an international search that drew interest from candidates representing a wide variety of perspectives and communities in art and design, said Salovey.

“Marta is an independent and creative thinker with a track record of making deep connections to students and faculty. I am confident that she will develop a distinctive vision for the Yale School of Art,” said Salovey. “She has an appreciation for developing ‘courageous’ students, and recognizes the importance of new sensibilities and new contexts for the presentation of artists and art.”

Kuzma is keenly aware of the current paradigm shifts in art and design practices, said Salovey, noting that she believes an art institution should be “creative in character, visionary in formulation, critical in structure and acumen, generous in terms of community building, and collaborative with those who constitute the institution as a whole — its students, professors, and staff.”

With more than 25 years of experience in leading international institutions of contemporary art as a curator, writer, and academic, Kuzma brings to Yale a deep knowledge of contemporary art, artists, and the role of art in broader social change.

Since September 2014, Kuzma has been head of the Royal Institute of Art, Sweden’s leading school of undergraduate and post-graduate study in visual art and architecture.

Previously, Kuzma served for eight years as director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, where she established an internationally recognized, research-based program of exhibitions, lectures, seminars,and projects. Kuzma was the founding director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in Kiev, Ukraine; served as artistic director of the Washington Project for the Arts, in Washington, D.C.; and as head of the international exhibitions program at International Center of Photography in New York City.  Kuzma has extensive experience curating high-level, international exhibitions.

She is a visiting professor in art theory at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia in Venice, Italy and at Universita Bocconi in Milan, Italy.

Born in New Jersey in the family from Ukraine, she holds a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. in aesthetics and art theory from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Middlesex University, London.

Photo: morgenbladet.no