Rebecca Rabinow is the Director of the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. Prior to joining the Menil, she served as a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art curatorial staff from 1990-2016. Rabinow was the founding Curator-in-Charge of the Met’s Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art and helped organize more than twenty special exhibitions at the Museum, including award-winning shows on Cubism and Matisse. Rabinow draws on her expertise as a museum curator, researcher, and director in considering the varied challenges facing the art world today.
Featured Talks and News Clips
Rebecca Rabinow on...
Museums and neutrality
Neutrality is impossible. Everything is subjective. The art that's chosen, how it
's displayed, the juxtaposition, so the sense of a neutrality is not even possible to begin with. So let's accept that there is a point of view and I think maybe the question is: What should that point of view be?
How do you get people comfortable even coming [to museums]? I think a lot of it goes down to education in the schools and the importance, the critical importance, of arts education for elementary school children, middle school. It's key.
The push to digitize artworks
It didn't kill art. In fact, it made people want to go see the originals. I would just point to the Mona Lisa effect. That painting has been reproduced so many times and yet there are lines so that you can see it through bullet proof glass even though there's astounding things in the galleries adjacent to it.
Dr. David J. Skorton is the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian. Skorton, a board-certified cardiologist, previously was the president of Cornell University, a position he held from July 2006. He was also a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and in Cornell’s Department of Biomedical Engineering at the College of Engineering. An ardent and nationally recognized supporter of the arts and humanities, Skorton has called for a national dialogue to emphasize the importance of funding for these disciplines.
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Director of the Menil Collection
Senior art critic at The New Yorker
Theater artist and a senior contributor to The Federalist
(Banner image: Nam June Paik, "Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii" Smithsonian American Art Museum, © Nam June Paik Estate, Gift of the artist)