Staller Center Welcomes Karen Levitov, Director and Curator of Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery

Alan Inkles, director of Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University, announced the appointment of Karen Levitov as art gallery director of the 5,000 square foot Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery, formerly University Art Gallery, located on the first floor of Staller Center.

Alan Inkles noted, “Ms. Levitov brings twelve years of professional experience from The Jewish Museum in New York, NY, where she was a curator and senior administrator. Her experience will reinvigorate the fine arts here, and we are delighted to have her join the Staller Center staff. We were fortunate to have Rhonda Cooper as gallery director for thirty years and congratulate her on her retirement.”

Highlights of Karen Levitov’s career include working with the contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley on a solo show of his monumental portraits, curating an exhibition of Impressionist paintings by Camille Pissarro drawn from New York collections, and organizing an exhibition of modern masterpieces by Matisse, Picasso and others, collected by the Cone Sisters of Baltimore in the early twentieth century.

Ms. Levitov has published books in conjunction with exhibitions, including New York: Capital of Photography, Camille Pissarro: Impressions of City and Country, and Collecting Matisse and Modern Masters: The Cone Sisters of Baltimore. “The biggest thrill was getting to interview Matisse’s grandson Claude Duthuit, who lived with Matisse as a child, for the Cone Sisters book and audioguide. I’ve also enjoyed being interviewed on NPR and public television, and making web videos for my exhibitions,” she notes.

Ms. Levitov grew up in Nebraska and completed an M.A. in Art History at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She came to New York for the Ph.D. program in Art History and Criticism at Stony Brook University and then joined the curatorial staff at The Jewish Museum.

When asked about her plans, Ms. Levitov noted, “It’s exciting to work on the design of an exhibition—seeing the art works come together in the space, deciding where to place each piece, often making unexpected connections. That’s the moment when individual works become an exhibition.”

“While I’ve organized a number of historical shows, I really love working with contemporary artists. It’s exciting to meet artists and to see what they are working on. It inspires new ideas and connections. My vision for the Zuccaire Gallery is to focus on new work by living artists, including solo and group exhibitions. I’d love to make full use of the Gallery’s beautiful, large space with its double-height ceilings. Large-scale paintings and drawings, sculptures, installations, video and new media would all be fantastic in the space,” said Ms. Levitov.