Connie Wolf ’81 abruptly announced that she is leaving her post as director of the Cantor Arts Center after four years in the role.
In the meantime, Cantor has elected not to appoint an interim director, leaving the museum temporarily without a director. The senior management team is taking over some directorial responsibilities in the meantime.
“There is a search committee, it’s at a very early stage, and we’ll be doing a national and international search,” said associate dean Matthew Tiews ’04.
Tiews added that more details on the search committee and process would become available later on. He declined to comment on the reasons behind Wolf’s resignation in the same interview.
According to KQED, Wolf “took the museum from a campus treat to a regional powerhouse.” Her departure made the news throughout the Bay Area art world in June.
Wolf told SFGate that her resignation was a personal decision and that she had accomplished what she set out to achieve for the Cantor — to “make the museum vibrant on campus.”
In a statement to friends and affiliates of the museum, Tiews wrote that Wolf increased museum attendance by 60 percent and made major additions to the museum, including Edward Hopper’s “New York Corner” and a collection of over 120,000 images by Andy Warhol. She is perhaps best remembered on campus as an arts administrator who engaged students through personal as well as programmatic means.
“For me, it was always extremely moving to hear her speak about what a university art museum was,” Ari Echt-Wilson ’17 said.
Echt-Wilson co-leads the Cantor Ambassadors, a museum internship for Stanford undergraduates who work with Cantor staff to promote the arts at Stanford. According to Echt-Wilson, Wolf’s vision of a university art museum is one that is deeply involved in academic life and student life. She advised undergraduates as a pre-major advisor and taught hands-on classes that gave students the chance to curate Cantor shows.
Tiews emphasized that the Cantor is in a strong position regardless of recent personnel changes, including the departure of two curators who he said left for unrelated reasons.
“The Cantor is in a transition period right now, and there are lots of wonderful things going on — the ‘Object Lessons’ show is a wonderful example,” Tiews said, referring to a reinstalled gallery exhibition tailor-made for the art history introductory sequence at Stanford.
Due to the long planning timelines for museum shows, many of the exhibitions that will be on display at the Cantor over the next year were realized during Wolf’s tenure.
Richard Saller, who serves as dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, told KQED, “In many ways, she’s leaving Cantor a stronger museum than she found it.”
Contact Fangzhou Liu at fzliu96 ‘at’ stanford.edu.