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Quick Takes

The Hirshhorn taps Koshalek

February 27, 2009|Mike Boehm

Ousted last year as president of Pasadena's Art Center College of Design, Richard Koshalek will return to the museum world in the nation's capital as director of the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian's new secretary, announced the appointment, effective April 13, in a statement Thursday, citing Koshalek's "vast experience in both the education and museum worlds." Before taking over Art Center's top spot in 1999 with a mandate to raise money and expand the campus, Koshalek, 67, was an institution-building director of L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art in the 1980s and '90s.

Last spring, Art Center's board of trustees refused Koshalek's request for a contract extension, as students and alumni of the design school complained that he had focused too much on expanding the campus with a then-proposed, now-in-limbo new building by Frank Gehry and on building Art Center's reputation nationally and internationally, and not enough on preserving educational quality and raising money to offset students' tuition costs.

-- Mike Boehm

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