December 10, 2010
Michigan State University has announced the hiring of Michael Rush as the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum. Rush, most recently the director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, was recommended by a search committee after an extensive international search.
“We have a prestigious donor, world-class architect Zaha Hadid, stunning architecture and have now found the essential missing piece—an innovative art museum director—in hiring Michael Rush,” said President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Michigan State University welcomes this award-winning curator and widely published author and critic. With his entrepreneurial spirit, Michael will direct the months leading to a vibrant opening of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in 2012 and the exciting years to come.”
At Brandeis, located near Boston, Rush oversaw a significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the region and was widely recognized for his leadership during a controversial attempt by the university to sell the collection and close the museum.
He also was director of the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, has lectured internationally on art and museum practice, has received awards from the International Association of Art Critics for his curatorial projects and is the co-founder of the Contemporary Art Museum Directors Association. Rush also hosts an Internet radio program, “Rush Interactive,” on Art International Radio which is accessed in more than 40 countries around the world.
“We were asked to find a charismatic art museum professional with inventive ideas and vital connections in the contemporary art world. Michael Rush is that person,” said Linda Stanford, associate provost and chairperson of the search committee.
Rush is a widely published author and has contributed regularly to numerous publications including “Art in America,” “Art on Paper” and the New York Times. Among his books are “Video Art,” “New Media in Art,” “New Media in Late 20th-Century Art,” “Marjetica Potrc: Urgent Architecture” and monographs on artists Gunther Brus, Steve Miller and Alexis Rockman.
“I am honored to be joining Michigan State as the founding director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum,” said Rush. “This is for me an extraordinary opportunity; moreover, this new museum is a great moment in philanthropy, education and international contemporary art.”
The facility is named in honor of Eli and Edythe Broad, longtime supporters of the university who provided the lead gift for the museum. The Broads’ gift of $28 million, with $21 million designated for construction of the building and $7 million to be used for acquisitions, exhibitions and operations, was the catalyst for the project. Additional fundraising for construction has so far raised nearly $34 million of the $40 million goal for the building.
“Edye and I are delighted with the selection of Michael Rush as director of the Broad Art Museum,” Broad said. “He is a principled scholar, educator and museum professional who has demonstrated an ability to work effectively with a broad public while growing the reach of arts institutions internationally. We are impressed with his leadership and are confident he will work with MSU and the Lansing community to make the museum a world-class institution.”
The museum, which broke ground on March 16, is expected to open in the spring of 2012 and will feature more than 70 percent gallery space and room for large art works to be displayed. The primary focus of the museum will be contemporary art.