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Kim Kanatani. Courtesy of Kim Kanatani.
Kim Kanatani. Courtesy of Kim Kanatani.

Kim Kanatani Named Director of the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art

Kim Kanatani has been appointed the inaugural director of the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art (UCI IMCA) at the University of California, Irvine. Kanatani comes to the UCI IMCA from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, where she has served as deputy director and director of education. The university only established the museum—which serves as the home of collector Gerald Buck’s holdings of more than 3,200 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper—in 2017.

“UCI has been a leader in the arts since the day our students and faculty first walked onto campus, and with the establishment of UCI IMCA we are positioned for an extraordinary new level of achievement,” said chancellor Howard Gillman. “Our goal is to make the arts an essential element of being at UCI. We welcome Kim Kanatani with enthusiasm and look forward to great things to come.”

During her tenure at the Guggenheim, Kanatani oversaw all of the educational programs, coordinated with the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao and Venice, and has been actively involved in the planning and development of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Most recently, Kanatani spearheaded Guggenheim Social Practice, an initiative that commissions artists to develop new forms of public engagement that address important social values. A native of Southern California, Kanatani was the director of education at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles before joining the Guggenheim in 2001.

Commenting on her new role, Kanatani said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to develop a world-class art museum that will showcase and celebrate the most significant collections and exhibitions of California art and give this work the recognition it deserves.”