Joseph Mizzi, Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Bronx Museum of the Arts, has announced that the Board has unanimously appointed Klaudio Rodriguez to serve as the institution’s Executive Director. Mr. Rodriguez joined the Bronx Museum in September 2017 as Deputy Director and has held the post of Interim Director since January 2020.
Mr. Mizzi also announced that Shirley Solomon, the Museum’s Director of Government and Institutional Giving, has been promoted to Deputy Director.
Mr. Mizzi said, “From the time our late Executive Director Holly Block brought Klaudio Rodriguez to the Bronx Museum as her Deputy, his combination of leadership, expertise, and sensitivity has won the wholehearted confidence and loyalty of our staff, Trustees, and community of artists. Demonstrating skillful performance as our Interim Director, including most recently amid the challenges of the pandemic, Klaudio stepped forward and took charge when we needed it most. Though an international search for a new Executive Director was launched earlier this year, we concluded that Mr. Rodriguez embodies all the qualities we were looking for in outside candidates. He is the right person to lead this institution into an exciting future as we begin our 50th anniversary in 2021. Underpinned by a strong belief in the importance of recognizing and promoting talent from within our own staff, and by the Bronx Museum’s deep commitment to community, we are thrilled to confirm two extraordinary members of our own community, Klaudio Rodriguez and Shirley Solomon, as Executive Director and Deputy Director.”
Klaudio Rodriguez said, “I came to the Bronx Museum with great enthusiasm, knowing how remarkably this institution was succeeding in its mission of transforming lives through art. Over the past three years, working with this wonderful Board and staff, I have felt privileged to serve our Bronx community and an international art world that has looked to us for inspiration. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish even in the midst of the pandemic—controlling our budget, pivoting very quickly to digital programming, and committing ourselves to keeping our entire staff intact, at full pay—because these things speak to core values of responsibility, engagement, and community. It is an honor now to be named Executive Director, and it is a great joy to move forward with an exciting exhibition schedule, engaging and accessible educational and public programs, and a 50th anniversary celebration in our future.”
The Bronx Museum of the Arts is currently presenting solo exhibitions of New York-based artists Sanford Biggers and José Parlá. On view through January 24, 2021, Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch includes more than 60 works from the interdisciplinary artist’s Codex series of mixed media paintings and sculptures done directly on or made from pre-1900 antique quilts. The exhibition is a collaboration between The Bronx Museum of the Arts and Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, New Orleans, overseen by Sergio Bessa, Bronx Museum Curator, and Andrea Andersson, Founding Director and Chief Curator, Rivers Institute. It will travel to the California African American Museum in Los Angeles and the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans. José Parlá: It's Yours, on view through January 10, 2021, features a series of new paintings that celebrate Parlá’s roots in the hip-hop energy of the Bronx and address the suffering caused by redlining policies, gentrification, and structural racism. The paintings are on view alongside the artist’s sketchbooks and drawings from age ten to seventeen. Site-specific responses displayed in the lobby seek to integrate the museum with the city. The exhibition is curated by Manon Slome, Co-Founder and Board President of No Longer Empty, where she is also Curator at Large. The Museum has extended the digital exhibition March to June: At Home with Essential Workers, a new series of self-portraits by photographer Alicia Grullón, through November 23.
Information about the Bronx Museum’s 50th anniversary exhibitions and programs will be announced early in 2021.
About Klaudio Rodriguez and Shirley Solomon
The child of a Croatian mother and a Nicaraguan father who met as students in Rome, Klaudio Rodriguez was born in Nicaragua in 1971. In the midst of revolution and at the age of six, he immigrated with his parents and younger sister to Miami. Growing up in neighborhoods not unlike those that surround the Bronx Museum, he was encouraged by his parents to discover a world of possibilities in the visual arts: learning to draw at an early age, being introduced to Guernica at the Prado during a visit to an aunt in Madrid, and expressing his childhood fascination with Picasso’s masterpiece by copying a postcard image of it, over and over. Educated at New World School of the Arts (BFA) and Florida International University (BA and MA in art history and Latin American studies), Mr. Rodriguez began his museum career at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University. While there, as curator, he developed a broad program of exhibitions and catalogues, including groundbreaking exhibitions on Latin American and Caribbean art, geometric abstraction, and contemporary art, as well as several other notable exhibitions including video works by women artists and an exhibition highlighting the couture of Cuban American fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez.
Shirley Solomon is currently the Director of Government and Institutional Giving, successfully raising $2 million to $3 million annually from foundation and public sources of support, more than $15 million in capital project funding from the City of New York, and stewarding relations with donors, elected 3 officials, and community stakeholders. She was also a fundraising consultant to museums and cultural institutions, including the Bronx River Art Center and The Noguchi Museum. Prior to joining the Bronx Museum over 15 years ago, she was a Program Assistant at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for African American History and Culture. She holds a MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and a BA in Art History and African American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and has served on program and grant panel reviews for the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.