Lewis Sharp, director of the Denver Art Museum, stunned the board of trustees this morning with the announcement that R. Craig Miller, founder of the department of architecture, design and graphics, was resigning and had taken a job at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The IMA is one of the wealthiest art institutions in the country.
Miller has been asked by new IMA director Maxwell Anderson (the two are old friends) to establish a department there and build a collection to fill it. The IMA will also become the sponsoring institution for Miller’s ground-breaking contemporary European design blockbuster that hopefully will travel to Denver when it is presented in a few years.
The fact that the DAM had not committed to sponsoring Miller’s European extravaganza doubtless played a part in his decision to leave. His departure also endangers the promised gift of the archive of graphic design promised by the AIGA, which Miller brokered.
“When I hired Craig eighteen years ago, we didn’t have anything,” notes Sharp, “and since then he has built one of the finest design collections in world.” A search for Miller’s replacement will begin in the coming months. “I’m not backing away one bit from my commitment to design,” adds Sharp.
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Miller’s departure is bittersweet for Sharp. The two have known each other for forty years -- since their graduate-school days. “Craig is one of the finest curators I have ever known,” muses Sharp, “but I think it’s a good move for him. He built a department at the Met, he did it in Denver, and I think he has enough time left in his professional career to do it one more time in Indianapolis. So I think it’s a good move for Craig—but I’m going to miss him.”
And so are the rest of us.— Michael Paglia
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