FSU Art History alumnus Matthew McLendon (BA 2000) has been appointed director and chief curator of the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. After receiving Bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Music at Florida State University and his PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, McLendon served for six years as the curator of modern and contemporary art at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota. In his time at the Ringling, his original programming and collection-building in contemporary art brought large new audiences to a museum previously known primarily for its Old Masters collection. He led the cross-disciplinary “Art of Our Time” series, focusing on living visual and performing artists and emphasizing community engagement. McLendon’s leadership at the Ringling led to record highs in attendance, membership, and philanthropy, including the funding of a major new gallery of contemporary art.
A UVA Today article on McLendon’s appointment quotes Alice Raucher, Architect for the University and chair of the search committee: “The search committee and I were impressed by Matthew’s vision for the future of The Fralin. His scholarship, experience, approach, vision and enthusiasm are exactly what the museum needs.”
Founded in 1935, the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia maintains a collection of approximately 13,000 objects, including American and European painting, works on paper, and sculpture of the 15th-20th centuries; art from the ancient Mediterranean; Asian art; and Native American art. On the museum’s website McLendon writes:
As the Museum’s new director, I am delighted to serve on behalf of The Fralin Museum of Art—a gem in the crown of the University of Virginia. I assume this role at a pivotal moment in the Museum’s long history and view it as an exciting opportunity to engage our audience of supporters, through conversations reflecting our cultural diversity within a broad spectrum of the arts.