New Frick director chosen for creativity, energy, dynamic personality
The new director of Frick Art & Historical Center will begin his role during a time of growth for the institution.
Robin Nicholson, 47, deputy director for art and education at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, will become the institution's third director on Sept. 2. Frick director Bill Bodine is retiring at the end of June.
This summer, the Frick will open an orientation center, marking the culmination of the first phase of a site-wide expansion project that began in 2012. Other planned improvements include a relocated and expanded education center, additional gallery space for the Car and Carriage Museum, storage space for the fine and decorative art collection, and a community center. The total cost of the expansion project is $15 million.
“I think this is an ideal opportunity for him to step in as we open the orientation center and begin phase two,” Reed said. “For him, it's perfect timing.”
Nicholson said he's excited to build on the momentum of the project.
“All art museums are trying to work out where they will be in 10, 20, 60 years,” he said. “This is an opportunity for the Frick to examine itself, in a way. It has all this great strength and opportunity. How can we capitalize on that to achieve the mission?”
In his 12 years with Frick, Bodine “built on the foundation built by (first director) Dick McIntosh,” said Carolyn “Cary” Reed, chair of the Frick's board of trustees and search committee member. “... We will all miss him, wish him well, and know Robin will continue to move the Frick forward in the cultural community.”
Located on the late 19th-century Point Breeze estate of industrialist Henry Clay Frick, the Frick Art & Historical Center opened in 1970 as the steward of collections left as a legacy to the people of Pittsburgh by Frick's daughter, Helen Clay Frick. The permanent collections include fine and decorative arts, cars, carriages and historic objects.
Nicholson has published and lectured extensively on 18th- and 19th-century European art and authored a book on the portraiture of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, published by Bucknell University Press in 2002.
At the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Nicholson has overseen the museum's curatorial, exhibitions, education, statewide partnerships, publications and library departments. He began his tenure in 2006 as director for exhibitions.
Alex Nyerges, director of the Virginia museum, said Nicholson oversaw one of its most significant major exhibition projects, “Picasso, Masterpieces from the Musée Picasso, Paris,” in early 2011, which more than 250,000 people viewed.
“He is a creative thinker,” Nyeges said. “There's that overused saying about thinking outside the box, but there are no boxes in his world.”
Nicholson spent 14 years as director and curator of the corporate art collection of Drambuie Corporation, headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The move to the Frick is a natural next step, Nicholson said.
“I was looking for a mid-size museum that had a lot of opportunity, was in a strong position financially and in terms of staff and support,” he said. “That's really what spoke to me about the Frick. It's a young museum and there are amazing opportunities for it to grow.”
Reed said the seven-member search committee looked for “creativity, energy, experience in the museum world, an appreciation for the Frick collection, and a dynamic personality.”
“I think we found all things in Robin,” Reed said. “We liked the growth in his career. ... He has a wealth of experience.”
Nicholson will visit Pittsburgh this week and hopes to find a home by August.
“What's happening in Pittsburgh is so exciting,” he said. “There are new restaurants, people are moving Downtown. Obviously, the city is on a dramatic rebound from its past. It's something that's very appealing.”
Rachel Weaver is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Padres snap Pirates’ 7-game win streak
- Steelers nose tackle McCullers finds performance, fitness go hand in hand
- Ford City ambulance company recognized for quality of heart attack care
- Padres snap Pirates’ 7-game win streak
- McKeesport alternative education students will move as academy closes
- Earning merit badges won’t be a walk in the park for Slate Lick Scouts
- Judge to shine light on whether West Kittanning billboard is a nuisance
- Driver dies, students hurt in school van crash in Indiana County
- Paddleboard classes focus on fitness
- Buena Vista pool anticipates its best season
- Trail construction to begin in Versailles