(ed. WEll, well did ms Rich decide to leave because of the "dodds affair"?
RK.com seriously doubts that but perhaps it might have left somewhat of a bad taste in her mouth on the morning after?)
Los Angeles Museum Chief Says She Plans to Retire
By CAROL VOGEL
Andrea L. Rich, president and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for nearly 10 years, has decided to retire. For the past few months she has been discussing her departure with board members, but the formal announcement of her retirement will be made at a board meeting on Wednesday. It will become effective Nov. 7.
"It's time," said Ms. Rich, 61, in a telephone interview yesterday. "I've done everything I have wanted to do. The museum is in great shape."
The news comes exactly three weeks after Wally Weisman, chairman of the museum's board, announced that it had raised $156 million, $130 million of which will pay for the first phase of a major expansion being designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. The rest of the money will go into doubling the museum's operating endowment.
The expansion, which will begin in the fall, will unify the 20-acre museum campus and include the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum - 60,000 square feet of gallery space to house the Los Angeles financier Eli Broad's vast collection as well as the museum's collection of contemporary art. The project will also include a glass-enclosed pavilion that will serve as the museum's entrance and the creation of public piazzas opening onto Wilshire Boulevard and Hancock Park. The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion in 2007.
"In addition to the building, which is ready to go, we've recruited a lot of young people on the board who have energy and money," Ms. Rich said. Besides a $50 million gift from Mr. Broad, about 75 percent of the museum's 54-person board have contributed its recent fund-raising campaign.
Word of Ms. Rich's retirement was leaked from a confidential memo from Mr. Weisman to the board that was obtained by The New York Times. In it Mr. Weisman said, "We all agree that the right time for such a transition would be at the commencement of the first phase of our campus expansion and enhancement."
Mr. Weisman added that the museum's executive committee has asked Ms. Rich to continue to consult with the staff over the next two years and to help with the transition. At the Wednesday board meeting the appointment of a search committee to find a new director will be discussed, he said.
During her decade at the museum, Ms. Rich has beefed up the institution's public programming and more than doubled its endowment, to more than $100 million from $49 million. She has also added to the museum's collections. Through gifts and purchases she has managed to increase significantly areas of the collection that are of particular interest to the diverse population of Los Angeles, like Islamic, Latin American and Korean art.
When Ms. Rich was named director of the museum in 1995, the appointment was met with considerable skepticism in the art world because Ms. Rich, who had been the executive vice chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, came to the job without an arts background.
"I've spent most of my life in public service," Ms. Rich said. "Now I want to play."