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Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM’s) announce Kimerly Rorschach as new Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director

The Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM’s) Board of Trustees announced that Kimerly Rorschach has been chosen as the museum’s new Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director following an international search. Since 2004, Ms. Rorschach has served as the Mary Duke Biddle Trent and James H. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. She will assume her position at SAM in fall of 2012.

Over the past eight years, Rorschach’s leadership significantly raised the profile of the Nasher Museum of Art from its predecessor, the Duke University Museum of Art. As the museum’s founding director, she led to completion the institution’s $23 million building program, designed by architect Rafael Vinoly and opened in 2005, and established a robust acquisition program in contemporary art. In addition to her post as Director, she also served as an Adjunct Professor in Duke University’s Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies and worked with university leadership to steer arts policy for the university and the broader community.

At the Nasher, Rorschach partnered with institutions from across the country and around the world to develop a program of high-profile and high impact exhibitions, from the 2008 exhibition El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III, organized in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York, 1914-1918 in 2010, a partnership with the Tate Britain and Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Among her current exhibition projects are The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl, which includes works by David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Christian Marclay, Dario Robleto, and more and is currently on view at Seattle’s Henry Art Gallery; and Wangechi Mutu: Walk This Way opening in 2013 and traveling to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The strong exhibition program established by Rorschach has been accompanied by a series of in-depth scholarly catalogues that are distributed worldwide.

Prior to her position at the Nasher Museum of Art, Rorschach was the director of the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago for ten years, where she was instrumental in organizing numerous noteworthy exhibitions ranging from modern and contemporary American artists such as See America First: The Prints of H.C. Westermann (2001-02), to surveys of European art including Confronting Identities in German Art: Myths, Reactions, Reflections (2002), to compelling exhibitions of historic and contemporary Asian art such as Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China (2003-04), which traveled to SAM in 2005. In addition, Rorschach strengthened the museum’s collections of 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, photography, German expressionist graphics, and East Asian art through more than 500 key acquisitions.

Rorschach is currently the President of the Association of Art Museum Directors, where she has previously served as Vice President and Trustee. In addition, she is a Trustee with the American Federation of Arts, New York, and has sat on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Curatorial Leadership, New York, since 2007. She has edited and written for numerous catalogues, journals and news publications.

Rorschach received a Ph.D and Masters Degree in Art History from Yale University and a B.A. from Brandeis University. She will be moving to Seattle from Chapel Hill, NC with her husband John F. Hart, a scholar in American Constitutional law and history who currently teaches at Duke University. Rorschach and Hart have two grown daughters. –

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