UMMA’s new director
As of July 1, Joseph Rosa, the Art Institute of Chicago’s chief curator of architecture and design, is the new director of the U-M Museum of Art.
“We are so pleased that Joe Rosa has agreed to lead the University of Michigan Museum of Art at this particularly auspicious and exciting moment in its history,” says President Mary Sue Coleman. “A year after its landmark expansion and restoration reopened to the public, UMMA has more than lived up to its promise of becoming a dynamic meeting place for the arts, offering a diverse range of lively exhibitions, performances, and programs and boasting record attendance.
“As an accomplished scholar, teacher, thinker and leader with wide-ranging museum experience and numerous publications to his credit, Joe has dedicated his career to bringing the visual arts, design and culture to life for a broad range of audiences,” she says.
The selection came after an international search conducted by a 14-member search advisory committee appointed by Coleman. Rosa is the seventh director of UMMA.
“I am thrilled and honored to be given this wonderful opportunity to lead the University of Michigan Museum of Art into the future at this very special time in its history,” says Rosa, who is the John H. Bryan Curatorial Chair of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Rosa has curated more than 30 exhibitions on contemporary architecture and design and is the author of 14 books. His writings have appeared in Praxis, Architectural Design, Assemblage, Casabella, The History of Photography Journal, Oculus, Architekur & Bauforum, and Progressive Architecture. He also is a noted scholar on the architect Albert Frey — the first disciple of Le Corbusier to build in America — and Julius Shulman, the highly acclaimed 20th-century architectural photographer.
Prior to joining the Art Institute of Chicago, Rosa was the Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the curator of architecture at the Heinz Architectural Center at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the chief curator at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and the director of the Columbia Architecture Galleries in New York.
He has been a visiting scholar at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, and a recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. He has been a juror for the Pew Trust, USA Fellows and the James Beard Awards. He also has been an adjunct professor teaching architecture and design in schools for the past 15 years, most recently at University of Chicago’s Department of Art History.
Rosa received a Bachelor of Architecture from the Pratt Institute, a Master of Science in architecture and urban design from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and was a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art and Archaeology. He has worked in the architectural firms of Gwathmey Siegel and Associates, Peter Eisenman, and Agrest & Gandelsonas.
U-M’s art collection is among the oldest university collections in the nation. In March 2009 UMMA opened a $41.9 million expansion and restoration project, designed by Brad Cloepfil and Allied Works Architecture. With the addition of the 53,000-square-foot Maxine and Stuart Frankel and the Frankel Family Wing and the restoration of historic Alumni Memorial Hall, UMMA ushered in a new era of the university art museum as a town square for the 21st century.
Rosa succeeds James Steward, who left UMMA in 2009 after nearly 11 years at Michigan.