Karen Levitov has been named art gallery director of the 5,000 square foot Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery, formerly University Art Gallery, located on the first floor of Staller Center.
“Ms. Levitov brings 12 years of professional experience from The Jewish Museum in Manhattan, where she was a curator and senior administrator,” said Staller Center Director Alan Inkles. “Her experience will reinvigorate the fine arts here, and we are delighted to have her join the Staller Center staff. We were fortunate to have Rhonda Cooper as gallery director for 30 years and congratulate her on her retirement.”
Highlights of Levitov’s career include working with the contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley on a solo show of his monumental portraits, curating an exhibition of Impressionist paintings by Camille Pissarro drawn from New York collections, and organizing an exhibition of modern masterpieces by Matisse, Picasso and others, collected by the Cone Sisters of Baltimore in the early 20th century.
Levitov has published books in conjunction with exhibitions, including New York: Capital of Photography, Camille Pissarro: Impressions of City and Country and Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore. “The biggest thrill was getting to interview Matisse’s grandson Claude Duthuit, who lived with Matisse as a child, for the Cone Sisters book and audioguide,” she said. “I’ve also enjoyed being interviewed on NPR and public television, and making web videos for my exhibitions.”
Levitov grew up in Nebraska and completed an MA in art history at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She came to New York for the PhD program in art history and criticism at Stony Brook University and then joined the curatorial staff at The Jewish Museum.
When asked about her plans, Levitov noted, “It’s exciting to work on the design of an exhibition — seeing the art works come together in the space, deciding where to place each piece, often making unexpected connections. That’s the moment when individual works become an exhibition.
“While I’ve organized a number of historical shows, I really love working with contemporary artists. It’s exciting to meet artists and to see what they are working on. It inspires new ideas and connections. My vision for the Zuccaire Gallery is to focus on new work by living artists, including solo and group exhibitions. I’d love to make full use of the Gallery’s beautiful, large space with its double-height ceilings. Large-scale paintings and drawings, sculptures, installations, video and new media would all be fantastic in the space,” said Levitov.
The Staller Center dedicated its art gallery space with the new name of Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery on April 4, 2013, in appreciation of the generosity of Alice Zuccaire and the Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation. The mission of the Paul W. Zuccaire Foundation is to perpetuate the memory and the spirit of Paul W. Zuccaire by the encouragement, promotion and support of the arts, education, health, humanitarian and other related activities through grants to not-for-profit institutions and organizations. The Foundation was established in 1999 by Estelle Zuccaire in loving memory of her husband.
Five MFA students will be exhibiting their work in the Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery. The 2014 Masters of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition runs Tuesday, March 18, through Tuesday, April 15. For more information call (631) 632-7240.