Baltimore Museum of Art names Asma Naeem as new director

The Baltimore Museum of Art has named Asma Naeem as its new director. She will become the first person of colour to lead the institution in Maryland.

Since June 2022, she has served as the museum’s interim co-director alongside Christine Dietze. Before that, Naeem was the museum’s chief curator.

She succeeds Christopher Bedford, who was the Baltimore Museum of Art’s director from 2016 until 2022. Her new role begins on 1 February.

James D. Thornton, chair of the museum’s board, said the institution is “committed to bringing diversity and equity into every aspect of its work”.

Naeem, who will be the museum’s 11th director, has been “integral to shaping this vision and to the strides we have made to realize it”, Thornton added.

First person of colour to lead the museum

baltimore museum of art

Before joining the Baltimore Museum of Art, Naeem worked in various curatorial roles at the Smithsonian‘s National Portrait Gallery. Prior to that, she had a career in law.

“I am excited to now lead the Baltimore Museum of Art as we continue to explore, experiment, and envision what a museum can be and mean to its immediate community and broader networks of artists and partners,” said Naeem.

“As we move forward, there is an incredible opportunity to bring a greater depth of local and global voices into the dialogues about the history and evolution of art, about museums as community spaces, and about the relationship between internal culture to external experience – and in doing so create meaningful change in the field.”

Naeem was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and immigrated to the US as a child with her parents. She grew up in Baltimore city and county.

She has lectured and written on contemporary art, social equity and power, identity and migration, American art, the Asian diaspora, and museum studies.

Images: Baltimore Museum of Art

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Baltimore Museum of Art names Asma Naeem as new director