The Brooklyn Museum has announced that the museum's current chairman, John S. Tamagni, will be retiring from his role and succeeded by Dr. Elizabeth A. Sackler.
Dr. Sackler, a philanthropist, art collector, public historian and activist, has been a Brooklyn Museum board member since 2000. Her new appointment will make Dr. Sackler the first woman in the nearly 200-year history of the Museum to serve in that position.
Dr. Sackler is also founder of the Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, which opened on March 23, 2007. The 8,300-square-foot center, located on the museum's fourth floor, aims to create a compelling and interactive environment to raise awareness and educate future generations about feminism's impact on culture.
The Center houses Judy Chicago's landmark feminist work The Dinner Party as well as a gallery space, regular exhibitions of feminist art and a study area. Chicago's piece includes 39 biographical place settings for women in history and fiction, as well as the names of an additional 999 women on gold-inscribed tiles. The Center's opening exhibition, "Global Feminisms," was the first international exhibit exclusively dedicated to feminist art from 1990 to the present.
Dr. Sackler was honored in 1999 by the Yurok Tribal Council, received the Brooklyn Museum Community Committee Women in the Arts Award in 2002, was one of Women's eNews "21 leaders of the 21st Century" in 2003, the recipient of the President's Award from the Women's Caucus for Art in 2004, was named "Native American of the Year" by Drums Along the Hudson in 2005. And in April 2006, she received ArtTable's prestigious 2006 Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts.
Dr. Sackler said she looks forward to adding to the accomplishments of her predecessors:
"The Brooklyn Museum has had an exceptional period of programmatic and capital growth, and our mission is essential to our City as a dynamic resource for all New Yorkers and its visitors," she said. "As this is a museum for all people, I am proud to be the first woman to Chair the Board of Trustees."
Tamagni commented that since Elizabeth Sackler first joined the Board, she has been one of its most dedicated and dynamic members, demonstrating an in-depth knowledge about the functioning of museums.
"Her leadership, vision, and generosity in founding the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum and the gift of one of its key components, the Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, were instrumental in establishing the Museum as the center for feminist art in the nation," said Tamagni. "Elizabeth is exceptionally well qualified to take the helm of the Brooklyn Museum and to lead it into the future."
Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman added, "I am delighted that our dear friend, long-time Board member, and enthusiastic supporter Elizabeth Sackler will take on the role of Board Chair. Her expertise, passion, and dedication make her superbly qualified to assume leadership of the Brooklyn Museum."