Ian Berry, associate director and Susan Rabinowitz Malloy ’45 Curator of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, has been named the museum’s third director.
The appointment — effective December 1 — was announced today by Beau Breslin, interim dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs.
Berry succeeds John Weber, who is leaving the Tang after eight years to be the founding director of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Berry will occupy the endowed directorship established in 1997 by Joan Layng Dayton ’63 and Robert Dayton. He also will hold the title of professor of liberal arts.
“Ian is a brilliant artistic visionary, one who not only understands the current wave of contemporary art, but in every way helps to shape that wave,” said Breslin. “He also acutely understands the importance of the Tang's central mission as a teaching museum.”
Weber called Berry’s appointment “well earned and great news for Skidmore and the world of academic museums.”
Added weber, "Ian's extraordinary curatorial vision and his commitment to the Tang’s teaching mission have been central to the Tang's growth and national reputation. I could not be more pleased by the selection of Ian as the Tang’s next Dayton Director.”
A specialist in contemporary art and a leader in the field of college and university museums, Berry joined Skidmore as the Tang’s founding curator in 2000 after serving as assistant curator at the Williams College Museum of Art. Graduating in 1995 from the University at Albany-SUNY with a B.A. in art history, he earned an M.A. in curatorial studies at Bard College in 1998.
The author of more than a dozen books and catalogues with imprints such as MIT Press, Prestel, and University of Washington Press, Berry has organized many of the most memorable shows in the Tang's history. These include projects with a diverse group of artists, including Nayland Blake, Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, Joseph Grigely, Nancy Grossman, Paula Hayes, Nina Katchadourian, Los Carpinteros, Richard Pettibone, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Alyson Shotz, Shahzia Sikander, Jessica Stockholder, Fred Tomaselli, and Kara Walker.
Berry pioneered the current practice at the Tang of working alongside faculty on large-scale interdisciplinary projects. This has become a national model for best practices in college museums. Among his faculty collaborations: The World According to the Newest and Most Exact Observations: Mapping Art and Science (2001) with Susan Bender, Bernie Possidente, and Richard Wilkinson; Staging the Indian (2002) with Jill Sweet; A Very Liquid Heaven with Margo Mensing and Mary Crone Odekon (2004); Lives of the Hudson (2010) with Tom Lewis; and the current collaborative project We the People with Beau Breslin and Rachel Seligman.
“I am honored to serve as Dayton Director of the Tang Museum,” said Berry. “It is a pleasure to be part of a great team that lives the museum’s mission in every part of our daily work. The Tang is a model for college and university museums and I look forward to many great things in our future.”
Berry has chaired the Visual Arts Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts and has served on the artistic advisory committee for the PBS series Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century among many other advisory groups. He has served as juror, panelist, committee member, and advisor to many regional arts organizations and is a regular guest on WAMC’s morning Roundtable radio program. Berry also served as consulting director of the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College during 2006-12, and was the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts at Austin Peay University in 2009-10. He has held leadership and committee positions in several professional organizations including the College Art Association and Association of Art Museum Curators and has served on several museum director search committees.
Berry is married to Monica Berry, an art conservator based in Saratoga Springs. They have two children, Fiona, 15, and Georgia, 11.