Baltimore Museum of Art announces Interim Co-Directors Asma Naeem and Chris Dietze

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Baltimore Museum of Art announces Interim Co-Directors Asma Naeem and Chris Dietze
Christine Dietze.

BALTIMORE, MD.- The Board of Trustees of the Baltimore Museum of Art announced today that it has appointed two members of the museum’s senior leadership team to serve as Interim Co-Directors. Christine Dietze, the BMA’s Chief Operating Officer, and Dr. Asma Naeem, The Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator, will lead the museum following Christopher Bedford’s departure as director on June 3, 2022. Dietze and Naeem were integral to the adoption of the BMA’s strategic plan, which places equity and artistic excellence at the core of the museum, and have worked closely with the Board, management, and staff to implement this vision across the BMA’s internal and external initiatives. Dietze also served as Interim Co-Director between 2015-2016. This news follows the February 9 announcement that Bedford will leave the institution to helm the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“On behalf of the board, I have every confidence in Chris and Asma to lead the BMA during this transition period, as we proceed in the work of identifying the museum’s next director. In their current positions, they have played essential roles in guiding both the BMA’s operations and artistic vision and are prepared to continue to support our staff in their important work to serve our community,” said James D. Thornton, the Vice Chair of the BMA’s Board of Trustees. “The BMA has set forth ambitious goals grounded in diversity and equity, scholarly rigor, and community engagement, and we look forward to continuing to reach those goals under Chris and Asma’s leadership and well into the future.”

Over the coming months, Dietze and Naeem will collaborate with Bedford and members of the Board to ensure a seamless transfer of operations and that the museum maintains and moves forward with many of its programmatic commitments. Dietze and Naeem will also continue in their current roles and work actively with the other four members of the senior leadership team to provide strategic guidance and oversight to the museum and support staff in developing and presenting new exhibitions, programs, and projects.

“The museum is well prepared for this transition period. Chris and Asma have the vision, dedication, and leadership skills to carry us forward, working collaboratively with the BMA’s exceptional staff,” said Clair Zamoiski Segal, the BMA’s Board Chair. “With the important decision of interim leadership confirmed, the Board can now turn even more fully to further developing the search process for the museum’s next director. This will be a robust and active process, and I look forward to sharing more details about our approach as we define our next steps.”

The BMA Search Committee is being led by Segal and Trustee Darius Graham and includes Trustees Nancy Hackerman, Pamela Hoehn-Saric, Lisa Harris Jones, Fiona Ong, Michael Sherman, James D. Thornton, David Wallace, and Kwame Webb. Their forthcoming work includes identifying an executive search firm, determining the framework and timing for engaging and garnering input from staff and members of the community, and developing the selection criteria and candidate qualifications, among other critical steps. The Board will make further announcements about the process as details are solidified.

Christine Dietze has served as Chief Operating Officer since April 2017 and oversees the business operations of the museum including finance and human resources, security and facilities, exhibitions management, and retail operations. Dietze served as Interim Co-Director of the BMA (2015–2016) and as Deputy Director of Finance and Administration (2006–2017). Prior to the BMA, Dietze was Associate Producer and General Manager at Ford’s Theatre and General Manager of The Shakespeare Theatre Company. She holds a B.A. from Boston University and an M.F.A. in Theater Management from Yale University. She currently serves as the Board Treasurer for the Greenmount West Community Center Foundation and previously served as the Board Treasurer for Arts Education in Maryland School’s Alliance from 2013–2021.

Dr. Asma Naeem, The Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator, joined the BMA in August 2018, and has since organized exhibitions on Candice Breitz, Valerie Maynard, and Isaac Julien. Prior to the BMA, she was curator of Prints, Drawings and Media Arts at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, where she presented, among other exhibitions, an early career retrospective of the work of Titus Kaphar, and an historical and contemporary exploration of the silhouette through the lens of gender, sexuality, and race. Her work has been widely published, and her most recent book, Out of Earshot: Sound, Technology, and Power in American Art, 1847–1897 was published by UC, Berkeley Press in 2020. Her exhibition, Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love will open at the BMA in May. Dr. Naeem holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Maryland, an M.A. from American University, a J.D. from Temple University, and a B.A. in art history and political science from Johns Hopkins University.

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