The ever-mysterious, still-under-construction Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles is beginning to take shape. Last October, the museum hired Sandra Jackson-Dumont, formerly the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s chairman of education, to be its director and CEO. Now, Jackson-Dumont has announced her hires for senior leadership positions, giving a better sense of what visitors might expect when the museum opens at a to-be-determined date.
Pilar Tompkins Rivas, who is currently the director and chief curator of the Vincent Price Museum of Art in nearby Monterey Park, California, will be the Lucas’s new chief curator and deputy director of curatorial and collections. Tompkins Rivas has been instrumental in raising the profile of VPAM on L.A.’s East Side, leading the institution’s efforts to mount important solo show of the late Laura Aguilar, as well ones devoted to artists Guadalupe Rosales, Yolanda González, Gabriela Ruiz, and Wang Xu. She also organized the groundbreaking exhibition “Regeneración: Three Generations of Revolutionary Ideology,” which surveyed three different political and cultural initiatives spanning 100 years of L.A. history.
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During her tenure at VPAM, Tompkins Rivas also established an important relationship with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that brought works from its permanent collection to the institution. In a statement, Tompkins Rivas, who will also oversee a collection that ranges from work by Norman Rockwell to sketches of Judith F. Baca’s Great Wall of Los Angeles to Star Wars storyboards, said that she looks forward with working with the Lucas’s new team “to shape how the museum will serve its diverse communities as well as its contributions to the broader field of art history.”
The Lucas’s new director of public programs and creative practice is Amanda Hunt, who was most recently the director of education and senior curator of programs at L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art and co-curated the 2019 Desert X biennial in Palm Springs. Her role will focus on the ways in which public programs can highlight the important between art making and community engagement.
Nenette Luarca-Shoaf, most recently the director of adult learning and associate curator of interpretation at the Art Institute of Chicago, will be the Lucas’s managing director of learning and engagement and will be tasked with creating and overseeing the museum’s educational model. Anais Disla will be the director of special events; she was most recently the acting head of special events at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Larissa Gentile, who was the project manager overseeing the development of David Hammons’s Day’s End installation, organized as a collaboration between the Whitney Museum in New York and the city’s Hudson River Park, will be the Lucas’s managing director of special projects. Erica Neal, who was senior manager of IS Infrastructure at the Orange County–run insurance company CalOptima, will be the Lucas’s director of computing and infrastructure.
In a statement, Jackson-Dumont, who officially started at the Lucas in January, said she assembled a group that includes people with strong ties to L.A. and people who come from other major U.S. city centers. “We could not be more thrilled with the team we have been able to recruit, and we are immensely proud to announce,” Jackson-Dumont said. “Their varied points-of-view, individual expertise, and combined decades of experience will help us realize our efforts to expand the role of art and museums for society through visual storytelling.”