Milwaukee Art Museum Appoints Chief Curator

Posted on March 25th, 2005

Milwaukee, WI, March 25, 2005— The Milwaukee Art Museum announced today the appointment of Joseph D. Ketner II as Chief Curator. Ketner will start in early summer.

“We are very happy that Joe has accepted the appointment of Chief Curator,” said Milwaukee Art Museum Director and CEO David Gordon. “His energy and innovative approaches to programming will be integral to maintaining the vitality of the Museum.”

Ketner comes to the Milwaukee Art Museum from his position as The Henry and Lois Foster Director at The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass. The Rose Art Museum is one New England’s foremost museums of modern and contemporary art. Prior to that, Ketner was Director of the Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, Mo.

“I am excited about the opportunity to join the leadership of this flagship institution,” said Ketner. “I am eager to build on the Museum’s key strengths – a world class collection, excellent exhibitions and a dedicated staff. I look forward to working with all to continue to engage our public regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Ketner received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., specializing in 19th- and 20th-century European and American art.

Ketner published The Emergence of the African American Artist: Robert S. Duncanson, 1821-1872 , which Choice magazine (American Library Association) named “Outstanding Academic Book for 1994.” While Director at the Washington University Gallery of Art, Ketner curated Lifting the Veil: Robert S. Duncanson . The exhibition traveled the US and concluded as an official cultural event of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

At The Rose Art Museum, Ketner curated numerous contemporary exhibitions, including Roxy Paine: Second Nature in 2002. The exhibition was awarded “Best Monographic Museum Show” in 2002 by the International Association of Art Critics, Boston Chapter.

Ketner also published A Gallery of Modern Art at Washington University in St. Louis in 1994. The book won “Museum Book, Second Prize” by the American Association of Museums in 1995. Also at the Washington University Gallery of Art, Ketner co-organized Jean Dubuffet: Forty Years of His Art (1984) with the Smart Gallery, University of Chicago. The catalogue published was Jean Dubuffet’s last artist’s statement.

Currently, Ketner is working on Elusive Signs: Bruce Nauman Works with Light , an exhibition which he plans to bring to the Milwaukee Art Museum next winter.

Ketner has worked with world-class architects and was involved in the recent architectural expansion and renovation of The Rose Art Museum. The first phase designed by Graham Gund was completed in September 2001; the second phase designed by Shigeru Ban is scheduled to open in fall 2007. While at Washington University, Ketner participated in the architectural program for an interdisciplinary visual arts center with Fumihiko Maki and Associates. At the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, he participated in the architectural planning of a new civic museum designed by Walter Netsch, Skidmore, Owings, and Merril within the Louis I. Kahn public arts complex.

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