Min Jung Kim Named First Woman to Lead Saint Louis Art Museum

June 24th, 2021

The Saint Louis Art Museum has announced Min Jung Kim as its new director. She will be the first woman to head the institution since its founding in 1879. Currently the director and CEO of the New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut, Kim will  step into her new role September 1.

“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,” said Kim in a statement.

Charles Lowenhaupt, president of the museum’s board of commissioners, praised Kim as “uniquely qualified” to lead the institution, and noted that she had been selected following extensive consultation with staff, community members, and other museum heads. “From the counsel we received through our listening project, our museum—featuring art from all times and culture—can serve as a forum to help people of all backgrounds understand, discuss and address our cultural and historical differences,” he said in a statement. “In today’s world, this is a critical role not only for our museum, but also for art museums across the globe.”

The South Korea–born Kim has helmed the New Britain Museum since 2015. She previously worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, where she was director of content alliances for over a decade, and at the Ely and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, where she served as deputy director. She holds a master’s degree in art history from London’s Courtauld Institute of Art.

Kim succeeds departing director Brent Benjamin, who led the Saint Louis institution for twenty-two years. During that time, Benjamin oversaw the museum’s David Chipperfield–designed expansion, spearheaded a $160 million fund drive, and shepherded historic endowment gifts and the acquisition of entire collections. Last spring, as president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, he was frequently in the news owing to the organization’s decision to temporarily relax rules surrounding deaccessioning in order to aid arts institutions struggling amid the Covid-19 crisis.