ALBANY — The Albany Museum of Art Board of Trustees announced Tuesday that Andrew James Wulf of Santa Fe, N.M., has been named executive director of the museum.
Wulf, who was selected after the AMA conducted a national search, will assume the position in early October and is expected to attend the museum’s major fall fundraising event, AMA ChalkFest, on Oct 5. He succeeds Paula Williams, who retired June 30 after serving five years as executive director.
Wulf will be introduced to the Albany community on Oct. 17 at the AMA’s Autumn Exhibitions Reception.
Jack Davis, president of the AMA Board of Trustees, said he is pleased that Wulf will be leading the museum, which is in the early stages of a move to its new home in downtown Albany.
“We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us, and Dr. Wulf has the expertise, passion and experience to lead us through this next chapter,” Davis said. “Just as importantly, Andrew values family and people, and he will connect with Albany, Georgia.”
Wulf, who most recently served as executive director of the New Mexico History Museum and the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, N.M., thanked Davis and the board for the appointment. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to lead the museum during a period of transformation.
“I see the AMA, now and in the future, as a beacon for modern and contemporary art, and for African art — not only for Georgia, but for the world,” he said. “I think there is an extremely bright future for the AMA, and I am deeply humbled to be steering this extraordinary institution down that road.
“I’ve been delighted to visit Albany, and I can’t wait to start this new adventure, working with a marvelous museum and its wonderful staff and board. It’s really a dream come true for me to return to my art museum roots at such a special institution that has done so much promising work.”
Wulf served at the New Mexico History Museum and the Palace of the Governors, a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, in Santa Fe, N.M., from 2015-2019. Prior to that, he was supervisory museum curator for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, a division of the U.S. National Archives, from 2010-15.
A guest curator and lecturer at the Museum of Design in Atlanta in 2016, Wulf has led the development of original museum and special collections-based public programming, exhibitions and publications for the last 16 years. He was curator of exhibitions, special collections, at the University of Southern California, from 2004-2010, and at USC’s Fisher Museum of Art. Wulf interned as a curatorial assistant for the Museum Department at Skirball Museum and Cultural Center in Los Angeles (2004-2005), and volunteered as an assistant educator, Membership Department for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom (2002-03), while a graduate student at the V&A and at the Courtauld Institute.
Wulf said he and his family have positive impressions of Albany from their visits during the search and interview process.
“I think Albany is a beautiful town,” he said. “It’s certainly a new experience for my family and me to move to the Deep South. We’re looking forward to it quite eagerly.”
He said his wife, Amparo, and their daughter “have already fallen in love with Albany and the South. We’re all very much looking forward to making it our new home.”
Wulf said he is especially excited to lead the AMA at a time when preparations are being made to move to the former Belk Department Store at 128 and 146 W. Broad Ave. The $10 million renovation project will double the space of the museum and allow it to bring back its permanent collection, which has been in storage since devastating storms of January 2017.
“To have this challenge ahead of us to create a brand-new version of the AMA is a museum director’s dream,” he said. “In terms of the future, I think the sky’s the limit on what this museum can be and do for Albany and the region.”
One characteristic of the AMA that Wulf wants to continue to build upon is the museum’s effort at inclusion of the whole community.
“I really feel that art museums, more than any other type of organization, represent one of the few public environments where courageous conversations can happen via art,” he said. “We’re a place where people can slow down. We encourage contemplation.
“The AMA already is a place where all Albanians, Georgians, Americans and visitors can find themselves and discover new ideas and get their creative juices flowing.”
A graduate of the Getty Leadership Institute Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders, Wulf earned his Ph.D. from the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, United Kingdom. He holds an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from USC; graduate certificates in The Arts of Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Europe, and The Visual Arts in Europe: 1720-1920, from Victoria and Albert Museum, London; an M.A. in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University; an M.A. in English (poetry) from the University of New Hampshire, and a B.A. in International Relations/French Literature from the University of Southern California.