A blooming Rose
New director transforms ailing Rose Art Museum
By Geoff Edgers
NOVEMBER 10, 2013
WALTHAM — The coffee urns were emptied. No hot water left for tea, either.
Christopher Bedford, the director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and organizer of the Saturday symposium on Jack Whitten, chuckled as he held an empty cup.
“We’re out of water because we never get so many people,” he said, noting the packed room at the university’s admissions center.
This is exactly what Bedford has been striving for since taking over the Rose last year. The first-time director was hired to revive a sleepy museum bruised by the university’s bungled 2009 attempt to sell off its collection. He has done that, and more, building a staff, board, and exhibition schedule virtually from scratch, acquiring new works, and recruiting a key Boston philanthropist to lead a board of trustees.
Attendance at the Rose has been climbing steadily since his arrival, from 9,145 before he came to 14,303 in the current year. This week, Bedford will announce that he has commissioned renowned artist Chris Burden to install an ambitious, outdoor and permanent work with a $2 million price tag.