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Art historian Gannit Ankori to lead Rose Art Museum

Gannit Ankori will become director and chief curator of the Rose Art Museum, a position she’s held on an interim basis since July.
Gannit Ankori will become director and chief curator of the Rose Art Museum, a position she’s held on an interim basis since July.Mike Lovett/Courtesy Rose Art Museum

Gannit Ankori, an art history professor at Brandeis University, will become director and chief curator of the Rose Art Museum, a position she’s held on an interim basis since July.

Ankori will step into the permanent role Jan. 1.

“I’m pleased that Gannit will be leading the Rose at such a critical time when so many arts and culture institutions are struggling to remain open and relevant,” Brandeis president Ronald Liebowitz said in a statement. “Her deep devotion to the museum, scholarly acumen, curatorial expertise, and proven capacity to lead and inspire makes her the ideal choice.”

Ankori, a scholar who’s written widely on identity and the arts, said that as director she hoped to transform the museum into an antiracist, anti-colonial institution.

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“I have been working with the Rose team to reimagine the museum as a welcoming and vibrant nexus for art, communities, and justice,” said Ankori, a Jerusalem native. “We are exploring new inclusive and more equitable ways of being a cutting-edge and inspiring museum that harnesses the power of art and ideas to create social change.”

Ankori, who teaches art history and theory in the departments of Fine Arts and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, previously served as the founding head of the school’s Division of Creative Arts. She has also been a member of the museum’s collections committee and its board of advisors.

Ankori is the author of numerous books and articles on modern and contemporary art, focusing on gender, religion, and nationalism. She has also organized several exhibitions at the Rose. Her most recent exhibition, “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” is a collaboration with fashion curator Circe Henestrosa. It is currently on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Ankori said that as museum director she would seek to expand the Rose’s permanent collection, an acclaimed trove of modern and contemporary art.

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“Critical review and research devoted to this remarkable collection uncover great strengths, but also blind spots,” she said. “Building on prior Rose directors’ and curators’ work, I am seeking to thoughtfully diversify and enhance our permanent collection, with focus on acquiring work by women, gender nonconforming, BIPOC, international, and underrepresented artists.”

Ankori succeeds former Rose director Luis Croquer, who stepped down earlier this year.

Lizbeth Krupp, chair of the museum’s board of advisors, said she was delighted at the choice of Ankori as director.

“Her brilliance, empathy, and enthusiasm make Gannit the perfect choice to lead the museum into the future,” she said. “She has already hit the ground running, redefining the museum’s vision for the future, and prioritizing the need for diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.”

The museum, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, remains closed to the public amid the pandemic.


Malcolm Gay can be reached at malcolm.gay@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @malcolmgay.