In an encore episode of The Business Beat, Steve Jones-D'Agostino, chief pilot of Best Rate of Climb, interviews Matthias Waschek, director of the Worcester Art Museum. They talk about the intersection of art and business in the new economy. This episode aired originally on May 19, 2013.
In November 2011, Waschek arrived at the 116-year-old Worcester Art Museum as its new director, with an international career of 20 years in the art world. He replaced James Welu, who is now director emeritus of the museum as part of a 41-year career there – 25, as director.
As director of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Waschek built that institution’s structure and shaped its identity as both locally anchored by and nationally recognized for its exhibitions and programming. Before moving to the United States, he was head of Academic Programs at the Louvre Museum in Paris. There, he conceived and led lecture series and symposia around collections and exhibitions, to interface between academia, the museum world and the general public.
With a Ph.D. from Bonn University on French Symbolism, Wascheck first published and lectured widely about art and artists of the second half of the 19th century. His field of scholarly work and publications broadened during his tenure at the Louvre, including proceedings of a symposium on artists’ lives, a study on Rubens’ Medici Cycle, and, for broader audiences, “What is a Masterwork?”
As director and curator of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, Waschek created award-winning web-catalogs, notably “Brancusi and Serra in Dialogue,” “Portrait/Hommage/Embodiment,” and “Ideal (Dis-)Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer.” A book on Ann Hamilton’s “stylus” installation, which he curated in 2010, was published at the end of 2012.
Waschek has broad experience in communicating with and about art, as:
- A professor of art history, notably at Parsons Paris – then part of the New School for Social Research in New York City – and the école du Louvre
- A regular guest lecturer at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, the université de La Rochelle, and others
- The initiator of a ground-breaking collaboration with the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, which combined questions of art experience with those of social integration