Marc Steglitz, the Guggenheim Museum’s Interim Director-Elect (right) with his wife, Ilene, and architect Richard Gluckman
This is a very bad sign:
In a just-issued press release that, at this writing, is not on the Guggenheim’s website, Marc Steglitz, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s former deputy director for finance and operations (now its chief operating officer), was named interim director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Lisa Dennison, who announced her sudden resignation (here and here) a week ago. She will join Sotheby’s in September.
Today’s very belated press release is the first formal announcement from the Guggenheim of Dennison’s departure. Interestingly, it was e-mailed to me by high-powered PR firm Rubinstein Communications, not by the Guggenheim’s own press office. Did someone decide that professional damage control just might be needed?
So control me:
Steglitz is a very capable number-cruncher, but he’s no art professional. He was the one who sat down with me and painstakingly explained the Guggenheim’s tangled finances back in 2002, when I was working on my February 2003 piece for Art in America magazine, The Guggenheim Regroups: The Story Behind the Cutbacks. He is smart and he is definitely a team player.
William Mack, chairman of the Guggenheim’s board, commented:
Recruiting her [Dennison's] successor will be a priority for the board and we will begin that process immediately.
Immediately? Not soon enough.