Michigan State University today announced the appointment of Mónica Ramírez-Montagut as director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (MSU Broad). Ramírez-Montagut currently serves as the director of the Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University in New Orleans and will assume her new role at the MSU Broad on July 1, 2020.
Ramírez-Montagut brings nearly 20 years of arts and culture experience to the MSU Broad, in addition to her background as a trained architect. Throughout her extensive career, her approach to art is known for being both publicly engaged and socially conscious.
“I am elated to welcome Mónica to our Spartan community. Her wealth of experience in arts and culture will be a driving force in furthering the mission of the museum to be both a teaching institution and cultural hub for our community,” said MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “I am confident she will bring a fresh perspective to MSU and a renewed energy to the museum, our university and Michigan’s arts community.”
Ramírez-Montagut led a dynamic rebrand of the Newcomb Art Museum, developed an exhibition program focused on issues relevant to the community, and made the museum a popular gathering place for students and locals alike. Under her leadership, the Newcomb Art Museum presented numerous exhibitions, including Per(Sister): Incarcerated Women of Louisiana. That exhibition was developed in partnership with formerly incarcerated women, community organizations, stakeholders, and those directly impacted by the prison system and is currently on view at the Ford Foundation for Social Justice in New York.
Another exhibition, EMPIRE, featured works culled from more than 10 diverse collections of Tulane University by Los Angeles based artists Fallen Fruit (David Allen Burns and Austin Young). She also produced solo exhibitions with Diana Al-Hadid, Hank Willis Thomas, LaToya Ruby Fraizer, Chakaia Booker, Brandan “BMike” Odums, and Mickalene Thomas, among others. Ramírez-Montagut also served Tulane University as a member on the Academic Council and partner for the Center for Academic Equity.
“Mónica has made the Newcomb Museum a destination, transforming it into an integral part of the city of New Orleans as well as a driver of curricular innovation at Tulane,” said Judith Stoddart, associate provost for university collections and arts initiatives.
Prior to that, Ramírez-Montagut was located in California, where she served as senior curator at the San Jose Museum of Art. Through her curatorial career, Ramírez- Montagut has worked with artists such as KAWS, Alejandro Diaz, Hope Gangloff, Andrea Dezsö, Kate Clark, Regina Silveira, Chelpa Ferro, and Erik Parker.
Tapping into her experience as an architect, Ramírez-Montagut also curated exhibitions such as Restoring a Masterpiece: Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Guggenheim Museum and Zaha Hadid, a 30-year retrospective of the acclaimed architect who designed the MSU Broad. She also worked on Prairie Skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower’s national traveling retrospective exhibition.
“She blends a deep knowledge of art and architecture with a passion for engaged learning and a genuine care for the communities around her,” said Stoddart. “With her expertise in Zaha Hadid’s work, she not only understands how to work with the MSU Broad’s unique architecture—she has fresh ideas for how to enhance visitors’ experience of the building. She will be a wonderful partner across campus, and a passionate leader in the museum community.”
Ramírez-Monatgut’s diverse background also extends to the performing arts. In 2004 she assisted the coordination of the bilingual city-wide MexicoNow festival under the umbrella of Arts International, dedicated to Mexican contemporary art in all disciplines. The festival presented in 36 venues over 33 days, showcasing more than 150 events. Soon after, she served as director of audience, development, and community outreach at the Queens Theatre in the Park in New York, where she cultivated lasting relationships with the community through innovative engagement strategies and bilingual programming.
“I am thrilled to join the talented team of the MSU Broad and continue to offer extraordinary contemporary art exhibitions and programs while simultaneously exploring ways in which to address critical social issues impacting our communities,” said Ramírez-Montagut. “As a dynamic university museum, MSU Broad is uniquely poised to develop interdisciplinary collaborations and community participation into powerful stakeholder formula for furthering the field of art while moving the needle towards social justice. I look forward to working with my colleagues at MSU to better engage and serve our on and off campus communities.”
Ramírez-Montagut has lived in the United States since 2002. She earned her bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and her masters and doctorate degrees in architecture from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. She is the author of KAWS (2010) and Erik Parker, Colorful Resistance (2012), both books published by Skira Rizzoli and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and notable essays on Zaha Hadid and Frank Lloyd Wright. She is also co-editor of Revisiting the Glass House: Contemporary Art and Modern Architecture (2008), published by Yale University Press.