Season 3 - Ep. 10 | The Art of Leading an Iconic Museum: A conversation with Max Hollein, Director of the Met

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May 31, 2023 | 34 min
Max Hollein
Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Season 3 - Ep. 10 | The Art of Leading an Iconic Museum: A conversation with Max Hollein, Director of the Met

What does youthful rebellion look like when you grow up in an artistic family? For Max Hollein it was going to business school. But he didn’t turn his back completely on his roots. Max quickly added a Masters Degree in art history to his Masters in business administration. A perfect combo for the now director and soon-to-be CEO, come July 2023, of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Max made a risky move earlier in his career by leaving the Guggenheim and New York to lead a prestigious but stumbling museum in Frankfurt. It paid off. Now, Max is entrusted with safeguarding and curating the Met’s 1.5 million cultural items while overseeing the museum's 80,000 square foot, $500 million expansion, all while first and foremost remaining a true lover of art.

In this episode of Redefiners, hear Max’s approach to ensuring one of the world’s most significant artistic institutions is truly sustainable in both the ecological and cultural sense. From brutal honesty at a job interview to hiding his playful side behind tailored suits, you’re not going to want to miss this conversation with Max Hollein.

To read our report, The New Philanthropists: The World is Changing, So Must Philanthropy as discussed by Katie Nivard, click here.

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Max Hollein

Appointed Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in April 2018, Max Hollein is responsible for guiding the Museum's artistic vision and all of its programming, research, and collection initiatives. An accomplished director for 20 years, Hollein oversees The Met's curatorial, conservation, and scientific departments; exhibition and acquisition activities; education and public outreach; as well as the libraries, digital projects, publications, imaging, and design. As of July 2023, he will also take on the additional responsibility of serving as CEO of The Met.

Prior to joining The Met, he was the Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where his tenure was characterized by visionary programming, pioneering acquisitions, and rigorous fiscal management. Previously he simultaneously led the Schirn Kunsthalle, the Städel Museum, and the Liebieghaus in Frankfurt, Germany, as Director and CEO, all of which experienced significant growth and increased attendance during his tenure.

Born in Vienna, Hollein studied at the University of Vienna (Master of Art History) and the Vienna University of Economics (Master of Business Administration). He began his career at New York's Guggenheim Museum as Chief of Staff to the Director and six years later assumed his leadership role in Frankfurt. Hollein has published and lectured widely and has organized a number of major exhibitions in modern and contemporary art. He is a member of supervisory and advisory boards of major cultural institutions worldwide, including the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; National Gallery, Prague; and Neue Galerie, New York. Named a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture in 2009 and a recipient of the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and the Arts, he received the Goethe badge of honor (the Hessian Ministry of Culture's highest accolade) in 2016, among other international awards.

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