Neal Benezra, deputy director and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago, has been appointed director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He will take charge on Aug. 1, succeeding David A. Ross, who resigned seven months ago.
A Bay Area native who was educated at UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Stanford University, Benezra, 48, says he has "a strong emotional attachment to San Francisco" and looks forward to leading an institution with "great ambitions."
He started his curatorial career in 1983 at the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa. Two years later he joined the department of 20th century art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Benezra moved to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., in 1991, first as chief curator and later as assistant director. He assumed his present position in Chicago in January 2000.
Among his exhibition credits are retrospectives for Edward Ruscha, Bruce Nauman and Martin Puryear.
His traveling exhibition of the late Juan Munoz's sculptures will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles on April 21.