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Museum Series No. 7 – Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art x Brooklyn Museum


Zeina Arida, Director of Mathaf / Anne Pasternak, Director of the Brooklyn Museum

Villa Albertine Headquarters
972 5th Avenue
New York, US 10075

September 12, 2023 | 6pm


Villa Albertine and the Center for Curatorial Leadership are thrilled to host an exceptional transatlantic conversation on the future of museums between Zeina Arida, Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art and Anne Pasternak, the Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum.

This discussion will be moderated by Elizabeth W. Easton, Director and Co-Founder of CCL.

The event will be streamed live on Villa Albertine’s YouTube Channel, starting at 6 pm EST.

The Speakers

Zaina Arida / Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Zeina Arida, Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art

Zeina Arida is the director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. A cultural activist in the Arab world, addressing photography, archives, and modern and contemporary art, Arida reopened the Sursock Museum in Beirut after a ten-year renovation and expansion project, initiating local and international partnerships, presenting exhibitions, public programmes, and library and archives activities, turning the museum into a local and international landmark. Following the damage caused by the Beirut blast on August 4, 2020, she led a successful fundraising campaign and secured the funds for the reconstruction of the building and the restoration of the artwork. From 1997 to 2014, she was the director of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF). 

Arida provides expertise to international private and public institutions as well as consultation to arts and culture organizations, artists, and projects. She is a currently a member of the Advisory Board of Darat al Funun, Amman, a member of the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut, and a member of the Scientific Committee of the Art Mill Museum in Doha. 

She is a member of the national committee of ICOM Qatar and a board member of CIMAM. 

Anne Pasternak / Brooklyn Museum ©Thimothy Greenfield-Sanders

Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum

Since 2015, Anne Pasternak has served as the Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum, one of the oldest and largest fine arts institutions in the nation. For more than thirty years, Anne has devoted her career to engaging broad audiences with the limitless power of art to move, motivate, and inspire. As a staunch advocate for the civic and democratic roles our cultural and educational institutions can play, she is committed to projects that demonstrate the crucial links between art and social justice. 

During her time at the Brooklyn Museum, Anne has focused on strengthening the Museum as a center for the visual arts that is courageous, pioneering, and inspirational. With her demonstrated imagination and skill, she envisions new ways to connect the Brooklyn Museum’s historical collections with contemporary ideas and practices, such as experimenting with how to make the permanent collection and gallery spaces into more dynamic experiences. Through her leadership, Anne has also expanded the Museum’s educational and public program offerings, and she has fostered remarkable special exhibitions, including The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America and We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85. These initiatives are building the foundations for the Brooklyn Museum’s new Strategic Plan, to further the Museum’s mission to create inspiring encounters with art and engage the community around the issues of today. 
Prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum, Anne served as the director of Creative Time, where she initiated projects that gave artists opportunities to respond to political and environmental challenges, while also expanding their practice and work globally. During her tenure, the organization collaborated with hundreds of artists, including Nick Cave, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, and Kara Walker, commissioning and presenting works that ranged from sculptural installations in Grand Central Station’s Vanderbilt Hall to skywriting over Manhattan, as well as Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated the sky above the former World Trade Center site, and continue to be presented on the anniversaries of 9/11. 

Elizabeth W. Easton / Center for Curatorial Leadership

Elizabeth W. Easton, Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Curatorial Leadership

Elizabeth Easton is the Director of the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL), a non-profit organization she co-founded with Agnes Gund in 2007 to train museum curators in the fundamentals of management and leadership. Now in its sixteenth year and with almost 400 alumni around the world, CCL continues to provide curators with the tools necessary to assume and succeed in leadership positions.

She previously served as the first elected president of the Association for Art Museum Curators from 2003-2006, and as chair of the Department of European Paintings and Sculpture at the Brooklyn Museum from 1999-2007. Easton earned her Ph.D. at Yale University, writing her dissertation on Edouard Vuillard’s interiors of the 1890s.

She is the recipient of the Wilbur Cross Medal—the highest honor accorded to alumni of Yale University’s Graduate School—and in 2008 was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government. She is a trustee of MASS MoCA and is also on the Visiting Committee of the Department of Paintings Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

About the Villa Albertine Museum Series

The Villa Albertine Museum Series, launched by Villa Albertine and the Center for Curatorial Leadership, is a new platform to explore the future of museums on both sides of the Atlantic. It will bring together 24 women leaders from premier cultural institutions in France and the US for monthly conversations in 2023 on how museums must reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of the present.

The Villa Albertine Museum Series Fall Dialogues are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Friends of Villa Albertine, notably Agnes Gund, Marie-Josée Kravis, Denise Littlefield Sober, Sana Sabbagh and Béatrice Stern.

In partnership with

The Center for Curatorial Leadership

Founded in 2007 by Agnes Gund and Elizabeth W. Easton, and based in New York, the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL) trains curators to become visionary leaders of art museums. At a time when the demands of cultural institutions and the public are rapidly evolving, CCL provides essential tools to guide today’s museums and anticipate future challenges. The CCL model encompasses mentorships with museum directors, rigorous coursework in strategic management, and professional networks for support and growth. CCL is helping to build the next generation of museum leaders, ones who combine traditional curatorial connoisseurship and art historical scholarship with management expertise. 

More info

FACE Foundation

FACE Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects. In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, FACE Foundation promotes artistic, literary, and educational exchange and collaboration between creative professionals from both countries. With additional corporate, foundation, and individual support, FACE Foundation administers grant programs in the performing and visual arts, cinema, translation, and secondary and higher education, while providing financial sponsorship to French-American festivals and other cultural initiatives. FACE Foundation focuses on new and recent work of living artists and the promotion of bilingualism and the French language. 

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