The San Francisco Art Institute welcomes Charles Desmarais as President

The San Francisco Art Institute welcomes Charles Desmarais as President

San Francisco Art Institute

Charles Desmarais.
Photo Jessica Palmieri.
July 28, 2011
The San Francisco Art Institute welcomes Charles Desmarais as President

800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133


The San Francisco Art Institute is proud to introduce CharlesDesmaraisas itsnew President. Previously Deputy Director for Art at the Brooklyn Museum, Desmarais will assume his responsibilities at SFAI on August 1, 2011.


“Charles brings a great depth in arts leadership and an outstanding record as an advocate for artists to his new role as President,” said Jeannene Przyblyski, Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs. “I look forward to working with him and learning from him as we build a dynamic vision for contemporary arts education at SFAI.”


Desmarais joined the Brooklyn Museum in 2005, overseeing all curatorial departments, conservation, collections, exhibition management, and the education division. Under his leadership, the museum emphasized the dual goals of scholarship and public engagement, becoming a recognized leader in using new technologies and innovative strategies to increase audience participation. From 1995 to 2004, Desmarais served as the Director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, revitalizing the institution and spearheading the planning and fundraising for a major new building designed by architect Zaha Hadid. When the building opened in 2003, The New York Times declared it “the most important American building to be completed since the end of the cold war.”


As President of SFAI, Desmarais will shape and implement the school’s strategic plan for long-term growth, strength, and sustainability. He will also oversee SFAI’s academic programs, which emphasize rigorous studio practices and interdisciplinary studies. “I am honored to join an institution with a distinguished 140-year history and great promise for the future,” said Desmarais. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, and the Board to enhance the school’s position as both a fundamental part of the Bay Area community and an active participant intheglobal art scene.”


The appointment brings Desmarais back to California, where he served as Director of the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach from 1988 to 1994, and Director of the California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside in the 1980s. Also an accomplished critic and curator, Desmarais has written scores of articles and essays, and organized more than 50 exhibitions of the work of artists including Lee Friedlander, Paul Kos, Tim Hawkinson, Ron Mueck, and Ilene Segalove.


Desmarais is a native of New York, and earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the State University of New York, Buffalo. He has also been a fellow at the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and participated in the Museum Management Institute program at the J. Paul Getty Trust.




San Francisco Art Institute


Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art. Focusing on the interdependence of thinking, making, and learning, SFAI’s academic and public programs are dedicated to excellence and diversity.


SFAI’s School of Studio Practice concentrates on developing the artist’s vision through studio experiments and is based on the belief that artists are an essential part of society. It offers a BFA, an MFA, and a Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Design and Technology, Film, New Genres, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, and Sculpture.


SFAI’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies is motivated by the premise that critical thinking and writing, informed by an in-depth understanding of theory and practice, are essential for engaging contemporary global society. It offers degree programs in History and Theory of ContemporaryArt (BA and MA), Urban Studies (BA and MA), and Exhibition and Museum Studies (MA).


From March 2011 through June 2012, SFAI will honor its distinguished history and contributions to the world of art with a 140th Anniversary celebration featuringlectures, events, and exhibitions.The celebration also offers alumni and friends worldwide an opportunity to reconnect with the institution as part of its planning for the next 140 years. 


For more information about SFAI, please visit or call 415.771.7020.


RSVP for The San Francisco Art Institute welcomes Charles Desmarais…
San Francisco Art Institute
July 28, 2011

Thank you for your RSVP.

San Francisco Art Institute will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.