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Michael Govan has been appointed a member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents. President Donald J. Trump signed the resolution April 19 appointing him a citizen regent. Govan’s six-year term begins May 6.
The 17-member Smithsonian Board of Regents includes nine citizen members, three members of the House of Representatives and three members of the Senate, as well as the chief justice of the United States and the vice president, both ex officio voting members. The Board of Regents is the governing body of the Smithsonian Institution.
Govan is the CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Since his arrival at LACMA, Govan has transformed both the museum’s collection and the way it is experienced by LACMA’s audiences. He has facilitated new creative interactions between contemporary artists and architects and the museum’s historic collections, commissioning exhibition and gallery designs in collaboration with artists John Baldessari, Jorge Pardo and Franz West and architects Frank O. Gehry, Fred Fisher, Michael Maltzan and others. Under Govan’s leadership, the museum has acquired more than 27,000 works for the permanent collection. Currently, the museum is in the midst of an ambitious project—replacing four aging museum buildings with a state-of-the-art gallery building designed by architect Peter Zumthor.
Known for his curatorial work as well as for his museum leadership, Govan has co-curated a series of notable exhibitions, such as “Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time” (2016–current), “James Turrell: A Retrospective” (2013–2014) and “The Presence of the Past: Peter Zumthor Reconsiders LACMA” (2013).
Before arriving at LACMA, Govan was president and director of Dia Art Foundation from 1994 to 2006. Prior to Dia Art Foundation, Govan served for six years as deputy director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Govan received a bachelor’s in fine arts and art history from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he served as acting curator of the Williams College Museum of Art.
Govan replaces Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who served two six-year terms.
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Linda St. Thomas