Paul Baker Prindle will join California State University, Long Beach as Director of the campus art museum, following his directorship at University of Nevada, Reno. Highly experienced in capital expansions and capacity building, Baker Prindle will work with stakeholders ahead of a significant expansion, as the University Art Museum is transformed into the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, or the Kleefeld Contemporary for short. He has opened two new museums in the past ten years while also engaging in major acquisition and program innovation initiatives. He looks forward to deepening the museum’s commitment to collecting and sharing exceptional contemporary art.
In regard to these organizational changes, College of the Arts Dean Cyrus Parker-Jeannette affirms that, "The renaming of the campus museum represents an exciting new era, as we receive a large gift, add the Kleefeld Collection to a significant permanent collection, and plan major renovations; I can think of no better steward and collaborator to manage this transition than Paul Baker Prindle."
Baker Prindle’s professional practice emphasizes diversity, inclusiveness, and viewer participation in arts programming, while serving an expansive community of art viewers and makers. An advocate for growing museums into higher quality, community-facing institutions, Baker Prindle has developed programs that serve students, school districts, community elders, and marginalized populations. He has successfully built two museum permanent collections that challenge pervasive collecting shortcomings through diversification of museum holdings to be more inclusive and to better reflect the communities museums serve. He works to support and collect the work of self-taught artists, LGTBQ artists, Indigenous Americans, and artists who identify as women. Most recently, his collecting efforts at The John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art grew the percentage of works by women in the museum’s collection from 3 percent to 47 percent.
Dean Parker-Jeannette also shared that, “Throughout the search and selection process, Paul Baker Prindle impressed us with his experience, articulately presented viewpoints, and vision. He comes on board as Director at an exciting time, just as the museum is receiving a new name and looking forward to an upcoming expansion. His expertise, educational perspectives, charisma, and incisive intelligence are sure to propel the museum forward in profound ways during its next chapter.”
Baker Prindle will oversee a growing collection, including significant holdings in the Outdoor Sculpture Collection, Gordon F. Hampton Collection, Works on Paper Collection, and the Kleefeld Collection, a recent gift to the museum. He expresses his enthusiasm in saying, “I'm excited to join this team of museum professionals at an important time in the life of the museum. We are eager to partner and collaborate while we explore and develop new ways of connecting the arts with the community. My vision is for the museum to be an outward-facing institution that foregrounds innovation, scholarship, and service within a region of great diversity. The success of our efforts hinges on thoughtful and sustained engagement with our neighbors, and I'm honored to have the opportunity to build deeper connections between the University and the people we serve.” His first day was July 22, 2019. He has curated well over one hundred exhibitions in the past. He co-curated Air, Land, and Seed, a collateral exhibition at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and has worked alongside artists to organize SEE HER: New Works by Dyani White Hawk and many other projects. He is a contributor to the forthcoming catalogue David R. Harper: My Own Personal Ghost. In January 2019, Baker Prindle opened the John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art at University of Nevada, Reno, where he taught and directed University Galleries for six years. He has held positions at Gagosian Gallery, Edgewood College, and John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
The Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at California State University, Long Beach creates inclusive exhibitions and programs that provide space for critical interpretation of contemporary art and culture.