In June of last year, longtime McNay director William J. Chiego announced he’d be retiring in the summer of 2016, giving the San Antonio art world a full year to ponder who might lead the museum into its next chapter. Today the McNay announced Chiego's successor will be Dr. Richard Aste, who most recently served as the Brooklyn Museum's Managing Curator, Arts of the Americas and Europe, and Curator of European Art.
Since taking the helm in 1991 as the McNay’s second director (as successor to John Palmer Leeper), Chiego has steered the museum through a major growth spurt that involved doubling the size of its permanent collection (from 9,000 to more than 20,000 works of art), the 2001 restoration of the original McNay Residence (built in 1929) and the 2008 opening of the sprawling Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions. Chiego counts the growth of museum staff (by nearly 300 percent) and the establishment of an education department among his other accomplishments during his 25-year tenure.
Identified as “the perfect candidate” by a Transition Committee appointed by the McNay Board of Trustees, Aste served as Associate Curator of European Art at the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico before joining the Brooklyn Museum in 2010. Born in Lima, Peru, raised in Miami, and fluent in Spanish, Aste officially takes over as the McNay’s third director on September 12. In a release sent out this afternoon, board president Sarah Harte cited a “broad international perspective and culturally varied background” among the qualities that will help Aste “build, strengthen, and diversify relationships between the McNay and the community of San Antonio.”
Echoing Harte's confidence in Aste's ability to take the McNay to the next level, Chiego describes his successor as "an experienced and imaginative curator/administrator with an ability to relate a museum to its community."