Min Jung Kim appointed as next director of Saint Louis Art Museum
22 June, 2021
The Saint Louis Art Museum has named Min Jung Kim its next Barbara B. Taylor Director, succeeding retiring Director Brent R. Benjamin. Kim brings nearly 30 years of experience to her new role, including more than a decade at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where she was director of content alliances, managing the collaboration among the Guggenheim; the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
She was recently appointed chairman of the Connecticut Arts Council by Gov. Ned Lamont and serves on the boards of Hartford Healthcare; the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; the New England Foundation for the Arts and the American Foundation for the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she was past president. Kim was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. Kim graduated from Wheaton College and holds a master’s degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London.
Kim will be the 11th director of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the first woman to lead the 142-year-old institution.
“The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the most prestigious museums in the country and I am deeply honored to be chosen to lead this great institution,” Kim said. “It has a premier collection, a long and distinguished history and a terrific and experienced staff.
“I want to express my gratitude to the search committee and the Board of Commissioners for putting their faith in me and to Brent Benjamin for passing on a legacy of success through his visionary leadership,” she said. “I am excited to build upon the museum’s strong foundational base, get to know and partner with the diverse communities of St. Louis and work with the talented team of the Saint Louis Art Museum in taking the institution to even greater heights.”
Following Benjamin’s retirement on July 1, Carolyn J. Schmidt, the museum’s deputy director and controller, will serve as interim director until Kim starts as director later this summer. During his 22-year tenure, Brent Benjamin led a world-class expansion on Art Hill; conducted a record-setting capital campaign; oversaw the growth of the museum’s collection through strategic acquisitions and gifts of entire collections; championed an innovative fellowship program to increase the number of minority professionals active in the arts and led a major diversity and inclusion initiative. He retires June 30.
“Min Jung is an excellent choice to lead the Saint Louis Art Museum,” Benjamin said. “She is known and respected as an inspirational and creative thought leader in the museum world. In retirement, I will continue to be an ardent supporter of Min Jung, the Art Museum and the St. Louis community.”
The Art Museum’s Board of Commissioners approved Kim’s appointment on Monday, following a global search chaired by commission member Keith Williamson. Other commission members who served on the search committee included Meredith Holbrook, Thomas Carnahan, Ashley Kemper, Kent Kreh, David Obedin, Emily Pulitzer, Donald Suggs and Barbara B. Taylor, with Charles Lowenhaupt, president of the Saint Louis Art Museum Board of Commissioners, serving as an ex-officio member.
Brent Benjamin was honored in 2019 by the Arts and Education Council with an Excellence in the Arts Award at the St. Louis Arts Awards. Learn more about his legacy below.