Steven Nash is President, Board of Directors, succeeding the late Phyllis Diebenkorn, widow of Richard Diebenkorn. Dr. Nash is an accomplished museum professional, curator and scholar and served most recently as the JoAnn McGrath Executive Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum from April 2007 until his retirement in January 2015. A preeminent authority on Richard Diebenkorn, Dr. Nash co-organized and was an essayist for the groundbreaking Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953-1966 (2013) at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and is a contributor in the Richard Diebenkorn: The Catalogue Raisonné (2016) from Yale University Press. Dr. Nash has carried out a wide variety of administrative and managerial duties, including participation in the design and installation of the Dallas Museum of Art as Deputy Director and Chief Curator (1980-88); an expanded California Palace of the Legion of Honor and De Young Museum as Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (1988-2001); and the ground-up creation of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas as Founding Director (2001-2007). At the Palm Springs Art Museum, he led the renovation of the museum’s main building, oversaw the addition of two satellite facilities, helped develop the permanent collection and authored several publications. Dr. Nash has been responsible for the acquisition of more than 1,000 works of art and has organized surveys on numerous modern artists such as Naum Gabo, Henry Moore, Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, Alberto Giacometti and Henri Matisse; his work on Pablo Picasso includes multiple exhibitions and catalogues. He sits on various boards including the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Desert X Biennial. Dr. Nash received his B.A. cum laude at Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. in art history at Stanford University.
In April 2015, Colin B. Bailey was named the sixth director of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. Dr. Bailey is a specialist in eighteenth-century French art and a recognized authority on the work of Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in art history from the University of Oxford. Prior to joining the Morgan, Dr. Bailey held the position of director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Previously he served in a variety of positions at New York’s Frick Collection for over thirteen years, including deputy director and the Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator. Dr. Bailey has been deputy director and chief curator at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; senior curator at the Kimbell Art Museum, Ft. Worth, Texas; and held curatorial posts earlier in his career at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
Sarah C. Bancroft is Executive Director of the James Rosenquist Foundation in New York City, and Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs at Fluent~Collaborative/testsite in Austin, Texas. An art historian and curator, Ms. Bancroft held curatorial positions at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art. She specializes in modern and contemporary art, and her recent critically-acclaimed exhibitions include Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2015), James Rosenquist: Illustrious Works on Paper, Illuminating Paintings (2014–15), LOVE George Herms (2014), Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series (2011–12), Two Schools of Cool (2011), California Biennial (2010), and Video Work by Gao Shiquang and Chen Qiulin (2009). At the Guggenheim, she co-curated James Rosenquist: A Retrospective (2003) with the late, great American curator Walter Hopps, and coordinated a major masterpiece exhibition from the Guggenheim’s permanent collection that traveled internationally. Ms. Bancroft received advanced degrees from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.
After nearly twenty years at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Ruth Berson recently launched a consulting practice focusing on art and museums, including curatorial programming, public art commissions, museum building projects and collections management. As Deputy Museum Director of Curatorial Affairs, Berson oversaw the five curatorial departments and three additional divisions: exhibitions, content strategy & digital engagement, and collections. She directed an annual program of approximately twenty-five exhibitions presented on-site, as well as a worldwide touring exhibition program. Simultaneously, from its concept inception in 2010 until the 2016 reopening of the new building, Berson served as SFMOMA’s Project Expansion Director for the $310M design and construction project. The building addition triples the galleries, making SFMOMA now one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. Berson started her museum career as a curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where she most notably authored The New Painting: Documentation on the eight original group Impressionist shows, a two-volume scholarly reference funded by grants from the Getty Trust and the Mellon Foundation Endowment for Publications. Since 2010, Berson has served on the United States board of the International Committee on Museums (ICOM), a non-governmental organization maintaining formal relations with UNESCO and having a consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. She is also on the board of Creativity Explored, a San Francisco nonprofit that serves adult developmentally-disabled artists. Recognized by the French Ministry of Culture, she was promoted to Officier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2011, after being knighted by the French Government as a Chevalier in 2000.
Benjamin Grant is a city planner, urban designer, curator, and teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Grant serves as the Urban Policy Director of SPUR, and since 2009 he has led their Ocean Beach Master Plan, an award-winning climate adaptation strategy for San Francisco’s open coast. He also leads SPUR’s policy research on physical planning and urban design, including the 2013 report Getting to Great Places, supporting the transformation of San Jose and other suburban communities into walkable, sustainable places. He has developed exhibitions on a range of urban issues, including Agents of Change, a historical survey of San Francisco urbanism for the opening of the SPUR Urban Center. He has been a lecturer and studio instructor in the graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University and has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute. Mr. Grant has further contributed to a range of planning and urban design projects in the Bay Area and beyond. His areas of practice include conceptual urban design, adaptive coastal management, open space planning and policy, code reform, transportation and land-use integration, and targeted client and stakeholder communications. He is a frequent commentator and participant in juries and studio reviews and has published dozens of articles and reports. Mr. Grant also co-founded CITY|SPACE, a nonprofit cultural institution exploring cities and urbanism through fine art, film, design and cultural landscape research.
Leah Levy has been a trustee and Executive Director of The Jay DeFeo Foundation since its inception in 1991. From 1974 to 1983 she owned and directed the Leah Levy Gallery in San Francisco. She served as founding curator of Capp Street Project, an artist-in-residency program begun in 1983 in San Francisco to facilitate site-specific installations. Levy has worked internationally as an advisor on public art projects, has organized exhibitions as an independent art curator and is the author of several books and numerous catalogue essays. She is also a Director at Artists’ Legacy Foundation.
As the fifth director of the Menil Collection, Dr. Rebecca Rabinow has overseen the successful completion of the $121 million Campaign for the Menil and renovation of the museum’s Renzo Piano-designed main building. As part of the reopening of the main building, she initiated a full year of rotating, permanent collection installations that highlight the museum’s most important works and also display some works for the very first time. Additionally, she has overseen the completion of the Menil Drawing Institute—the first freestanding facility built expressly for the acquisition, study, exhibition, conservation, and storage of modern and contemporary drawings. The 30,000-square-foot, $40 million building will be inaugurated with The Condition of Being Here: Drawings by Jasper Johns, an exhibition spanning the artist’s career. Previously, as founding curator of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, she organized more than 20 exhibitions, notably Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection (2014-15), Matisse, In Search of True Painting (2012-13), and The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde (2012). She has edited, co- edited, and written essays for the catalogues for these and other exhibitions and has also published numerous articles and lectured widely. She also co-organized the 2007 renovation and reinstallation of The Met’s Galleries for Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century European Paintings and Sculpture. Dr. Rabinow was educated at Smith College (B.A., 1988), the Sorbonne, and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (M.A. 1990, Ph.D. 1995). She is a Fellow (Class of 2013) of the Center for Curatorial Leadership.
Geoffrey L. Thomas is a retired General Counsel and Litigation Partner at the Paul Hastings law firm in Los Angeles. He had nearly 30 years of trial experience and was lead counsel in two dozen high-profile jury cases and complex court trials. His practice concentrated on libel, privacy, false advertising and related First Amendment claims involving publishers, broadcasters, Internet and new media companies. He also represented prominent law firms in defending malpractice claims. Mr. Thomas has lectured extensively on First Amendment issues, negotiation strategy and business torts. He has published articles on class actions, corporate insurance and professional responsibility. He earned his A.B. with honors from Harvard University in 1967 and his J.D. from Stanford University Law School in 1971, where he was a member of the Stanford Law Review.
David D. Watts is an estate planning expert with more than 40 years of experience. He retired as Associate Vice President, Major and Planned Gifts, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution that provides pediatric health care to more than 111,000 children each year. From 1966 to 2001, he was a Partner in the Tax Department, Trusts and Estates Group of O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles. Mr. Watts has prepared numerous charitable remainder trusts, created private foundations and advised charitable institutions. He has also supervised the administration of very large estates and estate planning. Mr. Watts was a Trustee of Rhodes College and the first Chairman of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Board of Regents. He graduated with Distinction from Rhodes College in 1963 and from New York University Law School in 1966.
Michael W. Wilsey is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Wilsey-Bennett, Inc. Mr. Wilsey has served in various roles at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for more than 30 years, including the Board of Trustees and as Chair of the Finance and Building Committees and Vice-Chair of Governance during a transformative time of growth of the museum’s gallery and public spaces, enhanced exhibitions, educational programs and services for the public. Mr. Wilsey served on the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Committee on Acquisitions and helped found and co-chaired the institution’s New Art Council. He also serves on the Director’s Advisory Board of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. Mr. Wilsey created the Bobbie and Mike Wilsey Distinguished Lecture series which has brought speakers such as art critic Holland Cotter, scholar William Gerdts and renowned artists Claes Oldenburg, Jaume Plensa and Wayne Thiebaud. He served as a founding Trustee at the Schwab Funds and Schwab Capital Trust. A Fulbright Fellow in Chile, Mr. Wilsey also taught for the Ford Foundation at the Singapore Institute of Management. He holds a B.A. from Notre Dame University and an M.B.A from Harvard Business School.