Art museum CEO Anderson headed to Dallas

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Maxwell Anderson is stepping down as director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art to lead the Dallas Museum of Art.

The IMA late Thursday afternoon announced Anderson, 55, will be leaving Dec. 31. Anderson, former director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, has led the IMA for 5-1/2 years.

“Max has been a champion of the museum’s mission while overseeing tremendous growth and change, including the enhancement of the museum’s collection,” Stephen Russell, chairman of IMA’s board of governors, said in prepared statement.

“Though we will miss Max’s leadership, we are confident that the IMA staff will maintain our high standards of innovation and creativity while we identify and secure our next director,” said Russell, who also is chairman of Celadon Group Inc., an Indianapolis trucking company.

Achievements during Anderson’s tenure included last year’s opening of 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, as well as the acquisition of Miller House and Garden, the iconic Eero Saarinen’s home in Columbus.

Anderson also had to grapple with fiscal challenges. The museum's main source of income, a $315 million endowment, suffered heavy losses in late 2008 and 2009, which precipitated more than $7 million in budget cuts.
Indianapolis venture capitalist Tom Hiatt, secretary of the IMA board of governors, will chair the committee that will conduct the national search for Anderson’s successor.



  • purification rite
    Saging ceremony to be held Jan. 1 at IMA.
  • As a jaybird
    The emporer wore no clothes. Period.
  • Right on, Chuck
    Chuck is right about all. It is very hard for the public to discern what was Max's contribution and what was not because he takes credit for all good and no bad. The IMA will be a much better place without him. PS The Dallas museum is not a step up. He stayed as long as he did because New York, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia and Cleveland didn't want him. Good luck, Dallas!
  • I wish Max best wishes
    Max took the IMA to a new, higher level during his tenure. He has a tremendous amount of restless energy and I never thought he would stay around forever, but he has achieved much during the time he spent here.

    They are certainly those who were put off by him making the tough decisions necessary to running a top quality museum in terrible economic times, but he managed to do so while still offering free admission and access to all.
  • Good for whom?
    I was a member of the IMA for many years and was excited to see the expansion and donated what I could to support it. But Max and the Model made me feel unwelcome. I don't own haute couture and the media don't comment on my fabulous clothing and ultra-rich friends at fundraisers. I felt pushed aside for the fancy folks. The museum itself is great and I think he did bring greater recognition and appeal, but for whom?
  • Couldn't have said it better
    Chuvk (Chuck?) hit the nail on the head!
  • Thanks for the memories
    Thanks for pillaging the endowment. Thanks for decimating the staff. Thanks for distorting the mission. Eternal gratitude is his if he takes the board and senior staff to Texas with him.
  • Dallas?
    Not New York? Not Los Angeles? Not Chicago? Not even Cleveland? Dallas? Really?
  • Unfortunate
    While I always knew this day was inevitable, I am still disappointed by Max's departure. He has helped position the IMA for a bright future and I hope his good intentions for the museum and the City will live on. It's disappointing to see the negative comments by some on this forum, but I always remind myself how easy it is to criticize when one does nothing. Thank you to Max and family for bringing fresh perspective to art and design in Indianapolis.
  • Bitter Betty's
    Mr. Anderson's wife is a lovely lady and "Todd" should be ashamed at his comments - I'm sure you're just jealous that he has her or that you are not her. The IMA has gained national and global recogniztion under his watch, some people are just always going to be negative, want a hand out, and not be willing to work hard to achomplish their own dreams - so they will always down play that of others. Good luck to Mr. Anderson and his BEAUTIFUL family...there are many of us within the IMA and the Indy Community that will miss you.
  • I agree
    Worked there back in the early 90's and it has changed a lot since then, and not for the better.
  • A refreshing change is coming
    The 100 Acres and the key people behind it were in place before Max Anderson. The Miller House would probably have come the way of the IMA with or without Mr. Anderson. His greatest accomplishment was removing the reception desk in the entry pavillion so no one feels welcome or informed when they enter the space. That and no informed gallery guards, paid parking...and so much more.
    • Dallas Has Art Culture?
      I've been to Dallas and clearly taking over the Dallas Museum of Art is a demotion.

      One would think wealthy Texas would have great art and children's museums, however, they were so weak, seeing the location of a presidential assassination probably the highlight of our visit.

      Indianapolis doesn't know how great we have it.
    • Eyewitness
      As an insider I can honestly say that I’ve never seen an administration that is so conspicuously self-serving and mean-spirited. From an outsider’s point of view, the IMA has received some positive attention in the past five years – but at what cost? Spend money, burn bridges, move on…
    • Celebrating
      What great news for the IMA
    • Great loss
      I'm saddened to hear this. Mr. Anderson improved the art and design standards of the museum (and city) by leaps and bounds. He will be missed.
    • Thanks, Mr. Anderson
      All I know is this: under Mr. Anderson's leadership the IMA has become a much better place...from the Sculpture Park to the adventurous programming. Sure there were a few missteps, but it's not like many other local arts institutions are getting the kind of national coverage that the IMA has garnered in the last couple of years for its work, for its attractions, for its policies. Thanks to you and your wife, and good luck in Dallas.
    • A Step Down
      I have been to the Dallas MoA and the IMA is way better. Maybe they think he can lead them into the big leagues.
    • Nice while it lasted
      Mr. Anderson did what others found impossible to do in the last 5 years - grow local support and revenue for an ART MUSEUM!!! His "arrogance" helped bring amazing Art to the city, a city that would normally be passed over. Yes he pissed off a few board members, fired some employees, and made changes that weren't very "hoosier-y." Well, good for him!
    • See ya...
      Not a surprise that the IMA's elitist leader is leaving...actually I'm more surprised he's stayed here this long. I'm sure many will agree that hs arrogance & attitude will not be missed.

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