Saint Louis Art Museum appoints first woman director


ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis Art Museum has named Min Jung Kim as its next Barbara B. Taylor Director. She will be the 11th director of the museum and the first woman to lead the 142-year-old institution. Outgoing director Brent R. Benjamin will retire July 1.

“The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the most prestigious museums in the country and I am deeply honored to be chosen to lead this great institution,” Kim said in a statement. “It has a premier collection, a long and distinguished history, and a terrific and experienced staff.

The museum received an arduous amount of feedback over four months from 239 individuals across the region, at the museum, and outside art institute leaders from around the globe, and examined the resumes of many, seeking the highly prestigious museum’s top position. 

“Interviewed 239 people and got a very strong sense of what our community wanted in a director and what they wanted was someone who had a strong art background but also willing to engage the museum with the community and the community with the museum,” said Charles Lowenhaupt, president of the Saint Louis Art Museum Board of Commissioners. 

Kim’s almost 30 years of experience in the industry includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum where she was director of content alliances, managed the collaboration among the Guggenheim; the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Currently, she serves as director and CEO of the New Britain Museum of American Art, one of the oldest museums of American Art in the country.

“A big part of my career background has been focused on growth and change and doing so in such a way that it remains relevant to the community,” she said. “So, I’m excited to introduce myself and really have some conversations to listen and learn and find what’s collectively going to be of the best service to the museum and the community.”

Kim was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She credits her parents’ love of art as a family for her first earliest influences.

“I want to express my gratitude to the search committee and the Board of Commissioners for putting their faith in me, and to Brent Benjamin for passing on a legacy of success through his visionary leadership,” she said.

Elizabeth Barmeier contributed to this report.

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