High Museum of Art

Atlanta, GA




Michael E. Shapiro Appointed High Museum of Art Director


The Board of Directors of the High Museum of Art announced in March, 2000 the appointment of Michael E. Shapiro as the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the Museum. Dr. Shapiro began his new position immediately. His unanimous selection followed an extensive five-month search led by a seven-person Transition Task Force established by the Museum's Board of Directors.

Since 1995, Dr. Shapiro has been an integral member of the High Museum of Art's leadership, first as Director of Museum Programs and Chief Curator, then as Deputy Director and Chief Curator and, most recently, as Acting Director of the Museum. Dr. Shapiro replaces the former director, Ned Rifkin, who announced his departure in November 1999.

"We are extremely pleased to confirm Michael's appointment as the Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High Museum of Art. He is a highly skilled arts administrator and scholar who has done a superb job at the High over the past several years," said Eric G. Friberg, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. "Our Task Force conducted a very thorough and rigorous national search, and we feel strongly that Michael is absolutely the best candidate for the job."

Dr. Shapiro has been largely responsible for a continuing series of ambitious and highly successful exhibitions since his arrival at the High, including Impressionism: Paintings Collected by European Museums (1999); Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People (1999-2000); Picasso. Masterpieces from The Museum of Modern Art (1998-1999); Henri Matisse. Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art (1996/1997); and Rings: Five Passions in World Art (1996), which served as an important turning point in the development of the High's membership, audiences and collections. (left: Michael E. Shapiro, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green, Jr. Director of the High Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of High Museum of Art)

Dr. Shapiro also has spearheaded important community programs, such as the Metro-Atlanta Partnership for the Visual Arts and Learning (MAP), a three-year pilot program that aims to link visual and verbal literacy in education curriculum. This unique partnership is led by the High, Atlanta City Schools, Fulton County Schools and the National Faculty, with support from BellSouth and UPS.

"This is an exciting time of growth and innovation at the High Museum of Art and I am delighted and honored to have the opportunity to lead the Museum into the new century," said Dr. Shapiro. "With our strong commitment to the community we serve, the High enjoys the seventh largest art museum membership in the country. Moreover, with our superb schedule of upcoming exhibitions, our increasing focus on new acquisitions and our developing plans for an addition designed by the critically acclaimed architect Renzo Piano, we are poised to secure our position as one of the nation's finest art museums."

Transition Task Force Chairman Terry Stent added: "From the start of this comprehensive process of considering top-notch applicants in a national search, Michael emerged as the strongest candidate. His outstanding credentials, experience, expertise and professionalism set the bar so high for us that our choice was clear." Additional members of the Transition Task Force include: Nancy H. Green, Vice-Chair, Jane Black, Richard A. Denny, Jr., Burton Goldstein, Margaret Perdue and John F. Wieland.

Prior to his appointment to the position of Director of Museum Programs and Chief Curator at the High, Dr. Shapiro was Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He joined The Saint Louis Art Museum in 1984, where he served as Chief Curator for six years. Dr. Shapiro also held the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC, and he has published numerous articles.

Dr. Shapiro received a master's degree in Art History in 1978 and a Ph.D. in 1980 from Harvard University. He also earned a graduate degree from Williams College in Williamston, MA and an undergraduate diploma from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Dr. Shapiro specializes in 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture. He is married to Elizabeth Harvey Shapiro, and they have two children.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/28/11

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