Kevin E. Consey is new director of UC Berkeley's Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

By Rod MacNeil, Berkeley Art Museum

BERKELEY--Kevin E. Consey has been named director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley. Consey is the former director of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art and the Newport Harbor Museum. His appointment is effective January 1, 2000.

Consey will become the fourth director of the museum, which was founded in 1965 and moved to its current location on Bancroft Way, adjacent to the campus, in 1970.

"I am very excited at the prospect of working with Kevin in planning for the museum's future," said UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Carol Christ.

"I am pleased and honored to be joining the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive as director in January 2000," said Consey. "I look forward to continuing the work of my predecessors and the institution's staff in improving one of the great university museums in the United States and leading the museum/film archive through the challenge of mitigating severe seismic challenges.

"I hope to teach as well as lead the museum and look forward to working with a great faculty and supportive administration, as well as a generous and knowledgeable board of trustees."

Consey comes to the museum with more than 20 years experience in American art museums, culminating in his nine year tenure as director and chief executive officer of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. At that museum, Consey was responsible for conceiving, planning and executing a major

$72.5 million building and endowment campaign, which resulted in a 220,000-square-foot building designed by architect Josef Paul Kleihues that opened to the public in July 1996.

As director, Consey increased both the museum's operating budget and membership by over 400 percent, and added to the scope of the museum's permanent collection with significant major gifts from Gerald Elliott, Joseph R. Shapiro and the Lannan Foundation.

Before joining the Museum of Contemporary Art, Consey served as director of the Newport Harbor Art Museum, in Newport Beach, California. Prior to that, he was director of the San Antonio Museum of Art, in San Antonio, Texas. At both museums, he successfully instigated building programs, including plans for a new museum building at Newport and the design and construction of a 70,000-square-foot, $12.1 million adaptive re-use of historic National Register buildings for the San Antonio Museum of Art.

After leaving the Chicago museum in 1998, Consey worked as a distinguished visiting professor of arts administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and as a management consultant specializing in strategic program planning and development for not-for-profit organizations. His clients included the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; the Pablo Ruiz Picasso Foundation, Malaga; the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, Chicago; and the Oklahoma City Memorial, Oklahoma.

"With his exceptional experience, Consey will be able to lead the museum into the 21st century and spearhead a campaign for a new museum," said Barclay Simpson, president of the Berkeley Museum of Art's board of trustees.

Following a recent announcement by UC Berkeley that the museum needs to improve its seismic safety capabilities, the museum's board of trustees currently is studying options to enhance and rebuild the building's structure to improve both its seismic safety and public facilities.

As an art museum director, Consey has played a key role in presenting an imaginative and compelling curatorial program. Major exhibitions organized under Consey's direction include "David Smith: Painter, Draftsman, Sculptor," (1983); "The Interpretive Link: Abstract Surrealism into Abstract Expressionism," 1938-1948, (1986); "Figurative Fifties: New York Figurative Expressionism," (1988); "Lorna Simpson" (1992-1993);"Radical Scavenger(s): The Conceptual Vernacular in Recent American Art,"(1994); "Beyond Belief: Contemporary Art from East Central Europe,"(1995); "Performance Anxiety," (1997); "Toshio Shibata," (1997); and "Cindy Sherman," 1998.

Consey received his bachelor of arts degree from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, and his master of museum practice/master of arts from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He will receive a master of business administration/master of management degree from the J.L. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, in December 1999.

Consey succeeds Jacquelynn Baas, who resigned in June 1999, after serving for 10 years as director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Baas is noted for her ability to stabilize the museum archive's budget, which has been continually balanced since 1992. The quality of the museum's programs and staff during her tenure was recognized by a number of major grants, including a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Fund in 1992, and a $5 million anonymous naming gift in 1997.

Consey will make numerous working visits to the museum between August 1999 and January 1, 2000, when his appointment begins.


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