Nelson-Atkins director honored by French

Photo courtesy Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Photo courtesy Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

The director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has received an award from the French Ministry of Culture. Julián Zugazagoitia was awarded the L’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (The Order of Arts and Letters) to recognize his significant contributions to the field of arts and literature.

“We are so fortunate to have a director at the Nelson-Atkins of Julián’s stature,” said Shirley Bush Helzberg, Chair of the Nelson-Atkins Board of Trustees. “This award recognizes international achievement in the arts, and Julián’s brilliant career and diverse path truly make him a citizen of the world and an exemplary example of arts achievement.”

The award, created by the French Minister of Culture in 1957, honors a person who has “significantly contributed to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance,” according to the government guidelines. About 60 people from around the world will be honored this year.

According to the museum, Zugazagoitia holds an Art History degree from the École du Louvre and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Sorbonne Paris IV, with a focus on Aesthetics and Modernism in the arts. His work as a consultant, lecturer and curator has involved projects around the globe with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles. From 1999 to 2002, he served as Executive Assistant to the Director for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. During his tenure at El Museo del Barrio, a leading museum of Latino and Latin American art, Zugazagoitia led the institution through a $44 million capital campaign and a full renovation, which opened in 2009 to critical acclaim.

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