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Neal Benezra  

Director, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

A Bay Area native, Neal Benezra became the Helen and Charles Schwab director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2002. Under his leadership, SFMOMA has enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth, including a physical expansion of the museum—designed by Snøhetta—and an extensive enhancement of its programs, collections, and education services. Benezra is also overseeing an ambitious collections campaign—the Campaign for Art—which has garnered nearly 3,000 works by artists such as Francis Bacon, Jackson Pollock, and many others.

Over the past three decades, Benezra has directed and curated at institutions including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian in Washington, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Des Moines Art Center, and was one of the first coordinators of the Anderson Collection in the Bay Area.

He currently serves on various boards and committees at numerous museums, such as the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Istanbul Modern, and the New Art Trust. Benezra holds both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in art history from Stanford, an M.A. in art history from the University of California at Davis, and a B.A. with honors in art history and political science from UC Berkeley.

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