Yale University Names New Director for Art Gallery

Yale University President Richard C. Levin today announced the appointment of Jock Reynolds as the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, effective September 1, 1998.

Reynolds replaces Helen Cooper, the Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, who has served as acting director of the Art Gallery since former director Susan Vogel left the University in November to return to her research on African art.

Mr. Levin said, “We are delighted to have Jock Reynolds join us at Yale to head up the Art Gallery. A creative artist in his own right, an insightful curator, and a capable administrator, Jock is a perfect match for the position he will fill. He comes to us at an exciting time, when this little neighborhood on Chapel Street is increasingly recognized as one of the world’s most exciting centers for the study and practice of the arts. I am grateful to the search committee, headed by David Pease, for all the time and energy they devoted to making this happen, and to Helen Cooper, who has taken charge of the Art Gallery so capably as the search proceeded.”

Pease, former dean of the School of Art, said, “Jock Reynold’s arrival is good for all of us at Yale who love art. He loves working with artists and art students; he loves making art and working with art. His name was recommended to us again and again in the course of our search.”

A visual artist, educator, curator and museum administrator, Reynolds has directed the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, for the past nine years. Under his leadership, the Addison renovated its historic Charles Platt building, and reorganized and expanded its collection and programming.

“I’ve long admired Yale’s outstanding undergraduate liberal arts tradition, as well as the University’s renowned museums and professional programs in the arts,” Reynolds said. “Together they have generated many of the world’s finest practicing artists, scholars and patrons, as well as broad and discerning audiences for culture. The opportunity to lead the Gallery, at a time when its superb collections and historical facilities are slated for increased care and a deserving expansion, is one I accept with great gratitude and enthusiasm.”

The Addison, under Reynolds’ leadership, has organized important contemporary art exhibitions, installations, performances, artist residencies and lecture series, including a major retrospective of Arthur Dove’s paintings and assemblages – currently at the Whitney Museum in New York. Reynolds himself has curated exhibitions of Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, Joel Shapiro’s sculpture, and Robert Frank’s photographic essay, “The Americans.” Thematic exhibitions he has curated include “Boys and Girls – Men and Women: Gender in American Art,” “A Matter of Conscience: G.I. Resistance During the Vietnam War,” and “Raised by Wolves,” a visual study of homeless young people in California, based on photographs by Jim Goldberg.

Many living artists, including Dawoud Bey, Roy DeCarava, Wendy Ewald, Robert Hudson, David Ireland, Kerry James Marshall, Alison Saar, Richard Shaw and George Tooker, have been hosted in residence for studio, exhibition and educational projects at Phillips Academy during Reynolds’ tenure. All the while, the Addison has continued to fortify its historical holdings of American art with acquisitions and exhibitions featuring such artists as Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Eadweard Muybridge, Stuart Davis, Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans.

Reynolds received his bachelor of arts degree in 1969 from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and his master of fine arts degree in 1972 from the University of California, Davis. He was an associate professor and director of the graduate program at the Center for Experimental and Interdisciplinary Art at California State University at San Francisco, 1973-83. From 1983-89 Reynolds was executive director of the Washington Project for the Arts in the District of Columbia.

Among his grants and awards are two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artists Fellowships, a Fulbright Fellowship and several National Endowment for the Arts grants for Art in Public Places.

His creative projects include photography, installations and public artworks – often in collaboration with his wife, artist Suzanne Hellmuth. Some recent works are “Brockman Memorial Tree Tour” at the College of Forest Resources and Medicinal Herb Garden, University of Washington, Seattle (1995); “Throw Money at It: Government Carnival” at the Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco (1992); “Conundrums of Memory” at the Kemper Gallery, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Mo. (1991); and “Suzanne Hellmuth and Jock Reynolds – Photographs and Documents, 1975-1985,” at the University of California campuses at Santa Cruz, Davis and Irvine (1986).

Reynolds has participated in group exhibitions and installations in Japan, Australia, France, the Netherlands and across the United States. His artwork is in many public collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, Minn.), the Hood Art Gallery at Dartmouth College and the LeWitt Collection at the Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, Conn.), as well as in many private collections.

Reynolds serves on the board of directors of the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial, the Oxbow School, and as a member of the Association of American Art Museum Directors.

In his new position, Reynolds will direct the Yale University Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel Street, which has more than 80,000 paintings and objects in its permanent collection, including Etruscan and Greek vases; pre-Columbian figurines; Chinese ceramics, bronzes, and textiles; paintings by Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Picasso, Homer and Eakins. Founded in 1832 by a gift of 100 paintings from John Trumbull, it is the oldest university art museum in North America. Its holdings today span all periods from ancient to contemporary, and come from every region of the globe. The main building of the Art Gallery, completed in 1953, was the first public commission designed by American architect Louis I. Kahn (1901-1974).

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325