Dallas Museum of Art Administrative Shake-Up Continues, Museum Adds Three New Positions

Maxwell Anderson said after his February arrival in Dallas that he had his first 100 days mapped out. Now we see those initial plans included changing up the administrative structure of the upper ranks of the museum’s staff.

The first new addition came this past Friday when the Dallas Museum of Art named Robert Stein its new Deputy Director for Research, Technology, and Engagement. Stein led the launch of Art Babble at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, steering the online media resource that is now a partnership that includes nearly forty art institutions. At the DMA, one of Stein’s duties will be  rethinking the way the museum engages audiences, with particular attention to digital media.

Today, the DMA has announced three new positions and two new appointees. Here they are:

  • Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, which will be held by Olivier Meslay, who earlier served as Interim Director and has led the Museum’s European and American art departments since 2009;
  • Associate Director of Collections and Exhibitions, which will be held by Tamara Wootton-Bonner, who has been with the DMA since 2000, most recently serving as Chair of Collections and Exhibitions;
  • Associate Director of External Affairs, for which a search will be conducted.
  • What do all of these new titles mean, exactly? Well, according to a DMA spokesperson, Anderson is creating a more centralized leadership team that will facilitate “close collaboration” between the museum director and the promoted individuals, while expanding both Meslay and Wootton-Bonner’s management responsibilities.

    Here are the two releases with biographical information:


    DALLAS, TX – March 9, 2012 – Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, today announced the appointment of Robert Stein as the Museum’s Deputy Director, effective April 19, 2012. Stein, who currently serves as the Deputy Director for Research, Technology, and Engagement at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, will work with Anderson and the DMA’s senior staff to lead the Museum and enhance the DMA’s impact in the Dallas community and around the world.  Stein will oversee the Museum’s financial, educational, conservation, technological, web, and operational activities.  Stein’s appointment represents the reinstitution and expansion of the role of Deputy Director at the DMA, and he will work with Anderson on a revision of the portfolios and responsibilities of the DMA’s leadership team.

    “Rob has been a long-time advocate of innovation in museums and is a pioneer in exploring strategies and techniques that cultural organizations can use to drive real and meaningful engagement with their audiences, both onsite and online,” said Anderson. “I am thrilled that he will be joining us in Dallas and know that his programmatic, strategic, and administrative strengths will help the DMA provide deeper connections to the Museum’s collections and programs.”

    “The Dallas Museum of Art offers an incredible opportunity to partner with a talented museum staff and dynamic board of trustees with a vision for excellence. Building on a history of innovative public programs, groundbreaking experiences like the Center for Creative Connections, and deep online content is an amazing chance to make a real difference in Dallas and the art world at large. I believe the DMA is ideally positioned to make a dramatic leap forward as one of the nation’s most dynamic arts institutions,” said Stein.
    In the museum’s education department, Stein spearheaded a renewed focus on audience engagement, instilled a systematic approach to evaluation and visitor studies, and recruited a dynamic staff focused on visitor experience. Similarly, Stein led a merging of publications, new media, and photography departments into a unified team to address the rapidly evolving role of media creation, digital publishing, and online communication. Stein also directed the growth of a robust team of technologists, media specialists, and software developers, who have been recognized nationally and internationally for their work in the museum field.
    Stein led the IMA’s Conservation department and a state-of-the-art Conservation Science laboratory founded in 2009. He oversaw the initiation of several research projects, the launch of digital documentation of collection surveys, and the completion of the museum’s first long-term strategic plan for conservation.  Stein also led efforts to create the IMA’s Archives, establishing the museum’s first formal archives program in its 129-year history, and a program of digitization and online access for archival documents.

    In 2009, Stein headed a team of staff at the IMA to create ArtBabble.org, a niche content portal for digital video about art and artists. Among the largest technology collaborations of museums in recent history, ArtBabble features contributions from 35 important international organizations including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Museo Nacional del Prado, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Van Gogh Museum among many others. ArtBabble stands out as the first significant effort in the cultural sector to use cloud computing technology in service of cultural history.

    Throughout his career in museums, Stein has advocated for community-minded collaboration and has worked to pioneer best practices in the field and to unite the interests and common goals of multiple institutions. His work from 2006-2008 as project director of the Steve.Museum research project—now a collaboration of some 21 institutions—explored whether social tagging could enhance online collection access in museums. In 2009, he founded a mobile-software project called TAP to create open-source tools that support mobile content experiences in museums, which was awarded a 2011 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Also in 2011, Stein was awarded a grant from the Getty Foundation’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative to create a reusable model for online publishing that can transform the practice of scholarly publishing for art museums.

    In 2009, Stein also founded the IMA Lab, a commercial software consulting arm inside the museum, dedicated to the creation of open-source software for the cultural sector. In addition to the fiscal benefits of the IMA Lab, the museum has also seen significant benefit from being able to use the tools created as part of those efforts given the Lab’s focus on open-source software.

    Stein also worked closely with Anderson on initiatives dedicated to promoting ethics and transparency in operating practices. In 2007, he helped launch the IMA Dashboard, the first real-time online museum platform that shared strategic metrics of the organization with the public. The IMA Dashboard has remained an important means for the staff to understand the long-term performance of the museum and is considered a gold standard of museum transparency.

    Prior to his tenure at the IMA, Stein worked in the high performance computing industry and academic computer science. From 2002-2006, Stein served as Assistant Director of the Visualization and Interactive Spaces Lab at Indiana University where he led research efforts combining scientific visualization and computer graphics with innovative computer interaction techniques. From 1997-2002, he also served as Senior Visualization Specialist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois, where he developed high resolution displays for scientific computing and custom visualization software for virtual reality and advanced display systems.


    DMA Announces Creation of Three New Positions to Enhance Leadership Team

    Appointing Olivier Meslay Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs

    and Tamara Wootton-Bonner Associate Director of Collections and Exhibitions

    DALLAS, TX – March 12, 2012 – Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, today announced the creation of three new positions to enhance and expand the Museum’s leadership team.  The positions include:

    • Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, which will be held by Olivier Meslay, who earlier served as Interim Director and has led the Museum’s European and American art departments since 2009;
    • Associate Director of Collections and Exhibitions, which will be held by Tamara Wootton-Bonner, who has been with the DMA since 2000, most recently serving as Chair of Collections and Exhibitions;
    • Associate Director of External Affairs, for which a search will be conducted.

    The announcement follows the appointment of Robert Stein to the reinstituted and expanded position of Deputy Director.  The new leadership structure and team reflects a realignment of responsibilities and departments within the DMA.

    “Olivier and Tamara have made incredible contributions to the DMA and are among its most important assets,” stated Anderson.  “So I am extremely pleased that they will be working closely with me as part of the team that will lead the Museum into the next phase of its service to the Dallas community and to enhance our role globally.”

    Olivier Meslay

    Olivier Meslay is the DMA’s Senior Curator of European and American Art and The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art. Meslay manages the Museum’s extensive collections of European and American art, composed of nearly 4,000 works including paintings, sculptures, and works on paper.  Prior to his appointment in Dallas, Meslay served as a noted and longtime curator from the Musée du Louvre. During his sixteen-year tenure at the Louvre, Meslay held a number of senior positions, including Chief Curator of Louvre Lens from 2006 through 2009, a satellite of the Louvre being developed in northern France.  From 1993 through 2006, Meslay served as the Louvre’s curator in charge of British, American, and Spanish paintings.  Meslay is a graduate of the Institut National du Patrimoine (1992–1993), the French State School for Curators. He received an M.A. from the Ecole du Louvre in 1983, having previously received an M.A. from the Sorbonne in 1982, where he also earned his B.A. in 1981.

    Tamara Wootton-Bonner

    Tamara Wootton-Bonner, who has served as Chair of Collections and Exhibitions, has been with the Dallas Museum of Art for more than eleven years.  During her tenure at the DMA, she has overseen the realization of numerous exhibition, publication, and building projects including the DMA’s centennial project; the exhibitions Matisse: Painter as Sculptor, J. M. W. Turner, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy, and From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier; the recently published guide to the Museum’s collection and other publications such as Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement, the Museum’s African collection catalogue, and Ignite the Power of Art; and the refurbishment of the Fleischner Courtyard and inner courts and the building of the Center for Creative Connections. Tamara received her M.A. in Art History from George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and her B.F.A. in Art History from the University of North Texas.  Before arriving at the DMA she worked at the Amon Carter Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.