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Guggenheim Officially Announces Appointment of Richard Armstrong

After a seven-month search, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation on Tuesday officially named Richard Armstrong as its next director, reports Carol Vogel in the New York Times. Armstrong, who has been director of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh for twelve years, succeeds Thomas Krens, who announced in February that he was stepping down after nearly twenty years. In a decision that was widely reported in the art world, Guggenheim trustees settled on Armstrong in late August, but they did not vote formally until their board meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Their choice appears to signal a distinct change in style for the Guggenheim, whose international ambitions under Krens have stirred some conflict within the institution in recent years. “We were looking for someone with a passion for art who understood that the New York museum is at the center of our universe,” said Jennifer Blei Stockman, president of the Guggenheim’s board. Under the long tenure of the provocative Krens, the Guggenheim transformed itself into a global brand with branches in Berlin, Venice, and Bilbao, Spain, as well as a planned museum in Abu Dhabi that is expected to open in 2013. Now the Guggenheim seems eager for a more centered presence. “We interviewed a lot of young avant-garde European and American museum directors and thought, do we want another maverick who puts their stamp on the museum or a seasoned expert who is a wise adult and who would put the needs of the institution and the staff first?” Stockman said in a telephone interview. Armstrong, who assumes the post on November 4, will nonetheless be responsible for the foundation’s global network of museums as well as its New York headquarters.