Tobin to stay on un­til Septem­ber to help search for suc­ces­sor

Tempo - - •VISUALARTS• - By Rick Ro­mancito

The Univer­sity of New Mex­ico’s Har­wood Mu­seum of Art an­nounced Mon­day (April 9) that its direc­tor Richard Tobin will be part of a tran­si­tion when his con­tract ends June 30. “I have not re­signed,” he told Tempo Fri­day (April 27) at a round­table dis­cus­sion for the “Work by Women” ex­hi­bi­tion at the mu­seum.

“The Har­wood Mu­seum of Art con­grat­u­lates Dr. Richard Tobin for his ac­com­plish­ments as direc­tor and is an­nounc­ing that he will stay on as the mu­seum’s direc­tor un­til the end of Septem­ber and as­sist in its search for his suc­ces­sor,” the Har­wood state­ment reads. “Since tak­ing the helm of the mu­seum in 2016, Dr. Tobin com­pleted the mu­seum’s most im­por­tant mul­ti­year project: re­ceiv­ing ac­cred­i­ta­tion from the Amer­i­can Al­liance of Mu­se­ums, a project be­gun by former direc­tor Su­san Longhenry.”

In a story about the ac­cred­i­ta­tion, Tobin told The Taos News in Fe­bru­ary 2017 he was re­lieved about the mu­seum re­ceiv­ing it, but was quick to at­tribute the work of many staff, past and present, for bring­ing the mu­seum up to speed. Tobin’s pre­de­ces­sor as direc­tor, Su­san Longhenry, “for­mally started the process in 2010,” he said. “It was kind of put on hold when she left, and we didn’t have a direc­tor,” but it was on­go­ing.

Once awarded, the no­tice “essentially tells the pub­lic. It tells the com­mu­nity. It tells any kind of donors that we are fol­low­ing best prac­tices and na­tional stan­dards, that we have a fidu­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep the work pre­served, ex­hib­ited and in­ter­preted in ac­cor­dance to the best prac­tices in mu­se­ums all over the coun­try,” he said.

“Dr. Tobin’s ac­com­plish­ment in­au­gu­rates a new era for the pho­tographed in May 2016 at the open­ing of the Har­wood Mu­seum’s ma­jor trav­el­ing ex­hibit, “Ma­bel Dodge Luhan & Com­pany: Amer­i­can Moderns and TheWest.”

Har­wood,” said Chaouki Ab­dal­lah, the Univer­sity of NewMex­ico’s provost and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent for aca­demic af­fairs. “We are thrilled that the Har­wood is in­cluded among the rare col­lec­tion of mu­se­ums to have at­tained ac­cred­i­ta­tion.”

Only 3 per­cent of mu­se­ums in the United States have re­ceived this des­ig­na­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Har­wood state­ment.

Tobin re­marked to the pa­per that if the Har­wood Mu­seum of Art had been ac­cred­ited by the Amer­i­can Al­liance of Mu­se­ums when the much-lauded ex­hi­bi­tion, “Ma­bel Dodge Luhan and

Com­pany: Amer­i­can Moderns and the West,” was be­ing or­ga­nized, it would have been cheaper and much eas­ier to pull off when it opened here in 2016.

Prior to join­ing the Har­wood, Tobin served as the direc­tor of strate­gic plan­ning (1995-2005) and as in­terim pres­i­dent (2005-2007) at the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can In­dian Arts in Santa Fe. He has taught a UNM art history course each se­mes­ter at the Har­wood since 1994.

“As Har­wood direc­tor, Dr. Tobin has en­vi­sioned and cu­rated many won­der­ful and mem­o­rable mu­se­umwide ex­hi­bi­tions in­clud­ing ‘Con­tin­uum,’ ‘The Er­rant Eye: Por­traits in a Land­scape’ and ‘Di­ver­gent Works,’ con­ceived the ‘Work by Women’ ex­hi­bi­tion and in­te­grated the ex­hi­bi­tions with cor­re­spond­ing ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams.” said Alexan­dra Ben­jamin, chair of the Har­wood gov­ern­ing board, in the state­ment. “After the mu­seum re­ceived ac­cred­i­ta­tion, one of his ma­jor ob­jec­tives was to re­fo­cus the cu­ra­to­rial de­part­ment to­wards com­plet­ing the doc­u­men­ta­tion and pho­tog­ra­phy of the Har­wood Mu­seum col­lec­tion in­ven­tory and also to get the col­lec­tion on­line. Un­der Dr. Tobin’s di­rec­tion these es­sen­tial goals are near­ing com­ple­tion.”

Tobin strongly sup­ports board ef­forts to fur­ther the mu­seum’s suc­cess by en­list­ing an in­sti­tu­tional re­view team from the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico’s main cam­pus to work with the staff and the gov­ern­ing board for the next six months, bet­ter con­nect­ing the mu­seum with im­por­tant re­sources in Al­bu­querque, the state­ment con­tin­ues.

The UNM re­view team in­cludes David Har­ris, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of ad­min­is­tra­tion, Kym­berly Pin­der, dean of the Col­lege of Fine Arts, Arif Khan, direc­tor of the UNM Art Mu­seum and TomTkach,ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of UNM’s Pope­joy Hall.

The Har­wood Foun­da­tion was cre­ated in 1923 after Burt Har­wood’s death in Septem­ber 1922. El­iz­a­beth Case Har­wood (Lucy) deeded the res­i­dence on Le­doux Street to UNM in 1935.

Now ap­proach­ing 100, the Har­wood is the sec­ond old­est mu­seum in New Mex­ico. Works in the col­lec­tions, dat­ing from the 19th cen­tury to the present, have made the Har­wood one of the premier mu­se­ums in the South­west, one that high­lights the transformative power of Taos and NewMex­ico on the arts.



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