What is your museum about and what is your work there?
The Santa Monica Art Museum – SMAM celebrates the creative process of artists and invites visitors to engage with them and their work. SMAM is not only a traditional art museum but rather an “artist museum”, providing space, technology, and resources for artists to express, conceptualize, and prototype their work.
The museum embraces the cultural blur and the many aspects of the classic institutional model while using these forms and expectations to expand its potential. Creating something new involves risks and experimentation. SMAM learns these virtues from its artists and views the role of the art museum as a creative practice. Most museums are founded. This museum is created. I am the museum director of SMAM and responsible for the museum’s strategic direction.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the museum field and how did you get started in the industry?
For 25 years, I’ve had museums on 5 continents as clients, and I have supplied them with interactive attractions and touring exhibitions. My role has always been to bring entertainment, infotainment, and excitement to audiences of all backgrounds, cultures, and languages. At this intersection with SMAM, I have put myself into the role of my clients and friends and can see how inspiring this role can be, how critical museums are for communities, and how they might respond to contemporary culture at large.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your role at the museum?
Since I live 7,000 miles away in Europe, I have a great time “Looking West”, which happens to be the title of our current exhibition at SMAM. When I am not on-site, I often spend time talking with my team in Santa Monica, which does an amazing job representing my intentions and our mission statement for the museum.
What innovative technologies or techniques have you implemented or seen implemented in museums in recent years?
Museums have been at the early stages or in some cases the first developers of such technologies over the years. Video guides, apps, virtual reality, hologram technology, augmented reality, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), generative content, the metaverse, Web3, and now artificial intelligence – these are all areas that SMAM is either already utilizing in its current programming or interested in exploring further in the near future.