Peggy Fogelman to Lead Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston has chosen Peggy Fogelman, a longtime curator and museum education specialist who currently oversees collections at the Morgan Library & Museum, to be its new director, succeeding Anne Hawley, who led the Gardner for 25 years.
Ms. Fogelman will go from one storied, jewel-box, Gilded Age collection with a Renzo Piano expansion (the Morgan opened its glassy addition in 2006) to another. (The Gardner more than doubled its footprint under Mr. Piano’s guidance, opening its expansion in 2012 and significantly increasing its attendance.)
While Ms. Fogelman, 54, served for a year as acting director of the Morgan during a search for a new director, this will be the first time she has led a museum. She has previously worked in curatorial and administrative positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
In an interview, she said she hoped to bring her experience both as a curator and museum educator to the Gardner, which long ago shook off its reputation as a kind of fusty relic but which Ms. Fogelman thinks could go even further in helping visitors to understand its varied collection, ranging from Old Masters to Islamic art to a focus on music. “This is a multidisciplinary institution, and the way that those various things connect may not always be apparent to people,” she said.
She added that she also planned to continue and perhaps to enhance the museum’s contemporary art program, which has in recent years increasingly brought living artists into the museum through exhibitions and residencies. She said she was interested in exploring collaborations with artists who might take on curatorial projects, with digitally oriented artists and with artists who straddle the line of activism, using art to try to foster social change. “It’s important to keep collections as living collections,” Ms. Fogelman said.