The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which are made up of the de Young and Legion of Honor museums, have finally appointed a new director. The museums have been operating without a director for the last 15 months in what curator emeritus Robert Flynn Johnson told the New York Times is “a state of Orwellian dysfunction.”
Since the death of the previous director John Buchanan, the museums have seen disruptive labor negotiations, embittered staff, mounting criticism of the board president Diane Wilsey and dismissals of high level employees. Among them was Lynn Orr, the curator behind the popular "Girl with the Pearl Earring" exhibit at the de Young, who was abruptly fired after 29 years.
Yesterday, the FAMSF announced the hiring of Colin Bailey as museum director in a move that will hopefully lend some stability and leadership to the organization. The de Young is the most visited art museum west of the Mississippi, and we'd like to keep it that way.
From the FAMSF announcement:
Colin B. Bailey is an internationally-respected art historian and curator. He most recently served as Deputy Director and Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator at The Frick Collection in New York, and he held a similar position at the National Gallery of Canada. He has also held curatorial positions at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth. Born in London, Bailey earned his doctorate in art history at Oxford University. Bailey has organized more than two dozen exhibitions during his career and he was named one of the first fellows by the Center for Curatorial Leadership.