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Richard Benefield named Executive Director of The George Rickey Foundation
Benefield comes to the foundation after many years with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.



EAST CHATHAM, NY.- The George Rickey Foundation announced the appointment of Richard Benefield as its new executive director.

Benefield comes to the foundation after many years with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where he served as deputy director and acting director. He left that distinguished museum system in 2016 to become executive director of The David Hockney Foundation, having organized the de Young Museum’s David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition in 2014, for which he also wrote the catalogue.

Benefield was also the founding executive director of The Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, and served as deputy director of the Harvard University Art Museums; assistant director of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design; and administrator of the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University.

“Richard’s resume speaks for itself,” said Philip Rickey, George Rickey’s son and president of the George Rickey Foundation. “His deep ties in the worlds of philanthropy, and academic rigor, ensure that he will be a wonderful steward of my father’s legacy.”

The George Rickey Foundation was established in 1993 and became active after the artist’s death in 2002 with the goal of advancing the appreciation and understanding of visual art through the exhibition and preservation of George Rickey’s work and the promotion of scholarship on the artist.

George Rickey (1907–2002) was best known for his abstract kinetic art sculptures, which poeticized the medium of burnished stainless steel in a transformative manner, bringing them to life with the movement of air and the reflective effects of ambient light.

“His work was in step with new sculpture trends toward abstract simplification,” wrote The New York Times critic Ken Johnson, “the fascinating movements of Mr. Rickey's sculptures appealed to a wide audience, and he received commissions from all over the world to create public works.” Slight variations in air currents make the sculptures—comprised of lines, planes, rotors, volumes, and circles—oscillate or gyrate gently or more vigorously, an effect that increases in his large-scale works.

Rickey’s works have been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Documenta, to say nothing of his numerous large-scale public commissions across the globe. His seminal work Five Lines in Parallel Planes (1966) will be on display this August on Park Avenue, part of a major, public Rickey retrospective that coincides with a show at Marlborough Gallery.

As executive director, Benefield will be responsible for advancing the legacy of the artist by encouraging and overseeing publications and exhibitions of George Rickey’s work, including a catalogue raisonné of his sculpture.

Benefield has organized exhibitions on the work of Richard Neutra, Renzo Piano, and many postwar American artists, as well as the 2016 retrospective of the work of fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

“It is an honor to lead The George Rickey Foundation as executive director,” said Benefield. “Rickey is an artist for whom I have great admiration and respect, and I will work to advance his legacy as a great thinker and writer, and a seminal artist in the history of late modernism.”










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