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Museum Series No. 8 – Museum Series x FRAME

Sophie Lévy/ Esther Bell/ Min Jung Kim/ Laure Dalon

Villa Albertine Headquarters
972 5th Avenue
New York, United States 10075

October 10, 2023 | 6pm


Villa Albertine and FRAME (FRench American Museum Exchange) are thrilled to host an exceptional transatlantic conversation on the future of museums between Sophie Lévy, Director of the Musée d’Arts of Nantes, Laure Dalon, Director of the Musée des Augustins of Toulouse, Esther Bell, Deputy Director of the Clark Art Institute and Min Jung Kim, the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum.

This discussion will be moderated by Zoe Kahr, Executive Director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

The event, which is open to public, will take place at the Villa Albertine headquarters and streamed live on Villa Albertine’s YouTube Channel, starting at 6 pm EST.

The Speakers

Sophie Lévy/Musée d'Arts de Nantes

Sophie Lévy, Director of the Musée d’Arts de Nantes

Sophie Lévy is the director and chief curator of the Musée d’arts de Nantes since July 2016. She reopened the museum in June 2017 after six years of renovation and extension, and launched a project that is both metropolitan and broad in scope, as are its rich collections that span from the 13th century to contemporary art. She previously directed the LaM, Lille Métropole Museum of Modern Art, Contemporary Art and Art Brut from 2009, which she reopened in 2010 and for which she curated several exhibitions, including The Magic City in 2012 and Amedeo Modigliani, The Inner Eye in 2016. She was previously curator and deputy director of the European Center of the Terra Foundation for American Art, a foundation dedicated to promoting American art around the world. Before that, she was curator of the 19th and 20th century collections at the Museum of Fine Arts in Dijon between 1995 and 2000, then curator of the Museum of American Art Giverny from 2000 to 2008. 

She is both a graduate of the French National Heritage Institute, specializing in museums (1995), and of France’s leading graduate business school (HEC 1990). 

Laure Dalon/ Musée des Augustins

Laure Dalon, Director of the Musée des Augustins

A graduate of the École nationale des Chartes and the Institut national du Patrimoine, Laure Dalon was appointed curator in charge of the Fine Arts collections at the Musées d’Amiens in 2009. From 2012 to 2017, she was Deputy Scientific Director of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais. She notably curated exceptional exhibitions such as “Cartier. Style and History”, “Hokusai” (Paris, Grand Palais) or “Fantin-Latour. A fleur de peau” (Paris, Musée du Luxembourg). Director of the Museums of Amiens between 2017 and 2022, she oversaw the major renovation of the Musée de Picardie and the reopening of this model 19th-century museum in March 2020. Director of the Musée des Augustins for the past year, she has overseen a number of major projects (construction of a new reception area, renovation of the large 14th-century cloister), while also presiding over the overall reorganization of the museum’s collections. 

Esther Bell/ Clark Art Institute

Esther Bell, Deputy Director of the Clark Art Institute

Esther Bell is the Deputy Director and Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Prior to joining the Clark, Bell was the Curator in Charge of European Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Previously, Bell served as the Curator of Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum. A specialist of French art, Bell has organized and co-organized a number of exhibitions including most recently: Promenades on Paper: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Clark Art Institute and Musée des Beaux-arts de Tours, 2022-2023), Renoir: The Body, The Senses (Clark Art Institute and Kimbell Art Museum, 2019-2020); Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Saint Louis Art Museum, 2017); and The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Kimbell Art Museum, Musée du Louvre, 2016-2017). She received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; a M.A. from Williams College; and a B.A. from the University of Virginia. Bell is the co-curator of the forthcoming Guillaume Lethière exhibition to open at the Clark Art Institute in June 2024. 

Min Jung Kim/ Saint Louis Art Museum

Min Jung Kim, the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum

Min Jung Kim was named the Barbara B. Taylor Director of the Saint Louis Art Museum in 2021. 

She brings to St. Louis extensive experience in museum leadership roles. As the director and chief executive officer of the New Britain Museum of American Art, she enhanced the museum’s profile through exhibitions and collection development designed to expand the definition of American Art and reflect greater diversity while strengthening community engagement and collaborative partnerships. As deputy director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, she was in charge of implementing the completion of the Zaha Hadid-designed Broad MSU and setting up its new operational infrastructure. As director of content alliances at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, she managed collaborative projects among the Guggenheim; the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. 

Min Jung Kim was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She graduated from Wheaton College and holds a master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London. 

Zoe Kahr/ Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Zoe Kahr, Executive Director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Zoe Kahr is the Executive Director of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art (MBMA). Founded in 1916, MBMA is the City of Memphis’ art museum and the largest and oldest museum in the mid-South. Its collection includes over 10,000 objects reflecting more than 5,000 years of human creativity. The museum is currently engaged in building a new home designed by Herzog & de Meuron on the banks of the Mississippi River that will open in 2026. 

Prior to coming to Memphis, Dr. Kahr was the Deputy Director for Curatorial and Planning at the Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), the largest museum in the Western US, where she oversaw LACMA’s award-winning and innovative artistic program. Dr. Kahr has produced over 300 exhibitions, including Children of the Plumed Serpent: The Legacy of Quetzalcoatl (2012), Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters (2016), and Betye Saar: Call and Response (2019). She initiated new partnerships to bring LACMA’s projects to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile, as well as to tour LACMA’s collections within greater Los Angeles, expanding access to LACMA’s programs. Dr. Kahr oversaw the gallery design and curatorial process for LACMA’s new 350,000 SF facility, which will open in 2024, and secured significant funding for the project. She also led DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility) efforts for LACMA through its exhibitions and acquisitions, as well as through the development of programs to attract and retain staff from diverse backgrounds into the museum field. 

Before coming to LACMA in 2010, she served as Assistant Director of Exhibition Planning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She currently serves as an Accreditation Visiting Committee Member and Museum Assessment Program Peer Reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums. She holds a BA in Art History (Magna Cum Laude), and an MBA with a specialization in Nonprofit Management from Yale University, as well as a PhD in Art History from University College London. 

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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