Discord Over Reorganization at Brooklyn Museum
By RANDY KENNEDY
Published: October 5, 2006
Sweeping changes in the curatorial staff at the Brooklyn Museum are causing deep dissension within the institution's ranks, playing a part in the recent resignations of three veteran curators and of two board members, one of whom had served for more than 20 years.
In July the museum did away with traditional departments like Egyptian art, African art and European painting and replaced them with two "teams," one for collections and one for exhibitions. Arnold L. Lehman, the museum’s director, has described the changes, which were adopted without seeking the approval of the museum's board, as a badly needed step to make Brooklyn’s relatively small curatorial staff more efficient and to encourage curators to exchange ideas more freely.
But some curators see the changes as a way of diminishing their traditional power to conceive, propose and organize exhibitions. As many as eight curators have retired or resigned over the last two years, including those in charge of Asian art; American art; European painting and sculpture; prints, drawings and photographs; and Egyptian, classical and ancient Middle Eastern art, though it is unclear whether all left because of changes put in place by Mr. Lehman, who took over in 1997. [read on...]