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Michael Brand

Dr. Michael Brand is currently consulting director of the Aga Khan Museum under construction in Toronto in a $150-million building designed by Fumihiko Maki and scheduled to open in October 2013. It will be the only museum in North America devoted to the arts of Islamic civilizations and a key component of the Aga Khan Development Network with special ties to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva. Dr. Brand previously served as director of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from 2005 until 2010. During this time, his priorities and achievements included bringing together a new senior management team, resolving Italian and Greek antiquities restitution claims, and bringing contemporary and non-Western art into the Museum’s programs. He was the first director of the Getty Museum to lead the institution at both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa sites and, in 2006, created the Museum’s new Center for Photographs, a 7,050 square foot space dedicated to the exhibition of photographic works. Under his leadership, major acquisitions were made in each of the Museum’s six collecting areas, including masterpieces by artists such as Claude Lorrain and Paul Gauguin. He also staged significant exhibitions such as Holy Image, Hallowed Ground: Icons from Sinai (2007), Bernini and the Birth of Baroque Portrait Sculpture (2008), and Drawings by Rembrandt and his Pupils (2009). Dr. Brand currently serves on the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Art Museum and the International Advisory Board of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. He is a past member of the Governing Board of the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. From 2005 to 2010 he represented the Getty Museum as a member of the Bizot Group. From 2000 until 2005, Dr. Brand served as director and chief executive officer of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. During his tenure at VMFA, he was the driving force behind a successful $125 million capital campaign to fund the largest expansion in the Museum’s history. From 2001, he worked with London-based architect Rick Mather to develop a complete campus transformation, including a new 177,000 square foot wing designed by Mather and a 3.5-acre sculpture garden designed by the Olin Partnership. Under Dr. Brand’s directorship, VMFA also successfully implemented a new graphic image and identity project with Pentagram in New York. From 1996 to 2000, Dr. Brand was Assistant Director, Curatorial and Collection Development at the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane, where he played a significant role in the gallery’s third Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 1999 and led the development of the Gallery’s world-renowned collection of contemporary Asia-Pacific art. From 1988 to 1996, he was curator of Asian art at the National Gallery of Australia, in Canberra, where in 1991-1992 he organized the exhibition The Age of Angkor: Treasures from the National Museum of Cambodia. He was the co-director of the Smithsonian Institution Mughal Garden Project in Lahore, Pakistan from 1988 to 1993. A native of Australia, Dr. Brand earned his B.A. (Honours) from the Australian National University in Canberra and his M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University.