Three finalists considered to direct the Carnegie Museum of Art

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Museum leaders from California, Vermont and Liverpool, England, are being considered as the new director of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.

Pittsburgh's major art museum has lacked a full-time director since November, when Richard Armstrong left to lead the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in New York City. Chief Curator Louise Lippincott and Deputy Director Maureen Rolla have served as the museum's interim co-directors.

The three candidates are Dr. Christoph Grunenberg, director of one of four Tate art galleries; Stephan Jost, head of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont; and Dennis Szakacs, director of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, Calif. None could be reached for comment.

Dr. Grunenberg was born and reared in Germany. He earned master's and doctoral degrees at the Courtauld Institute of Art, a college within the University of London. The prestigious school has served as a training ground for many curators and art conservators at the Tate and elsewhere. He spent nearly five years at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

In August 1999, Dr. Grunenberg became a curator in the collections division of the Tate in London. In 2000, he was appointed acquisitions director and worked with a group called Patrons of New Art, made up of 300 backers who buy art for the museum and sponsor the Turner prize. In 2001, Dr. Grunenberg became director of the Tate Liverpool.

Mr. Jost, the son of two college professors, grew up in East Lansing, Mich. While a student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., he spent six months living in Amsterdam, where he studied 16th century stained-glass windows.

He has worked at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College in Ohio, and Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, Calif.

Mr. Szakacs (pronounced SAKE-US), developed a love for art during visits to museums in Cleveland. He studied English and political theory at the University of North Carolina. In 1987, he founded Artview, a journal that published from 1987 through the early 1990s.

He spent nine months as managing director of P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Queens, an affiliate of New York's Museum of Contemporary Art. He also served as an administrator at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, N.C., and was in charge of program fundraising at the Jewish Museum in New York City.

Mr. Szakacs was working as deputy director at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York when he was recruited by the Orange County Museum of Art. He became director there in 2003.

Mr. Armstrong, who held the Carnegie Museum of Art director's job for 14 years, was in Pittsburgh this week for a board meeting of the Fine Foundation. Milton Fine, a wealthy hotelier from Fox Chapel, serves on the search committee seeking Mr. Armstrong's successor. He endowed the Fine Prize, a $10,000 award given to an emerging artist at the Carnegie International, a contemporary art exhibition designed to showcase the "old masters" of the future.


Marylynne Pitz can be reached at mpitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1648.


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