The Hispanic Society Museum and Library in New York announced the appointment of Guillaume Kientz as the institution’s new director and chief executive last week.
Kientz is a Velázquez and El Greco expert and former curator at the Louvre in Paris. Currently, he serves as the curator of European Art at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, a position he began in 2019. He worked at the Louvre for nine years as the curator of Spanish and Latin American Art. Kientz will be replacing Mitchell Codding who served as the head of the Hispanic Society for twenty-five years.
The Hispanic Society has faced challenges in recent years. The museum has been closed since 2017 for renovations. Although the museum planned to re-open in mid-2019, Kientz is now unsure when the institution will be open again. The museum has also struggled to connect with the Latino community surrounding it in Washington Heights. While the institution’s name suggests a broader connection to Latin America, the museum’s collection of paintings, manuscripts, and objects focuses primarily on Spain and Portugal.
Kientz told the New York Times that “my first goal is connecting with the community, because otherwise it makes no sense to have a museum there.” He will take over leadership of the Hispanic Society in early 2021.