Mr. Rodriguez was recruited to the Bronx Museum of the Arts by Holly Block, the museum’s longtime government director, from the Frost Art Museum in Miami in 2017. As deputy director, he oversaw all day by day museum operations, together with managing employees and growing exhibitions. “My very first day on the job was a full board meeting where I learned that Holly was stepping down,” Mr. Rodriguez mentioned. Ms. Block died in October 2017, and he stepped into the de facto function of chief after that, however the prime job in the end went to Deborah Cullen-Morales, an outdoor rent. She left after 18 months, and Mr. Rodriguez — once more — took the helm as interim director.
“It’s been a tumultuous few years with the passing of Holly, the pandemic, financial stresses,” he mentioned in an interview on Wednesday. “Really my main goal right now is to stabilize the ship and make sure that everyone is steering in the same direction.”
Mr. Rodriguez recalled his childhood as an immigrant in Miami after his household fled the revolution within the late 1970s. “The museum is situated in a community very much like the one I grew up in,” he mentioned. He described seeing Picasso’s “Guernica” at age 12 in Madrid’s Prado museum, an expertise that was “absolutely transformative.” He has been pushed professionally to have interaction college students who had little or no publicity to museums in his function as chief curator on the Frost, a part of Florida International University, the place he obtained his undergraduate and masters levels in artwork historical past, and now within the Bronx.
Currently on view there are exhibitions by Sanford Biggers, of mixed-media works knowledgeable by the African-American historical past of quilt-making, and by José Parlá, of summary work referencing distressed partitions in city landscapes. Mr. Rodriguez is holding off asserting new exhibitions for the museum’s upcoming 50th anniversary 12 months. “We have plans, of course, but it’s pandemic-pending,” he mentioned.
Mr. Rodriguez has overseen a $20 million capital marketing campaign for a long-planned renovation and growth of the museum’s authentic constructing, a former synagogue, and the 2006 addition by Arquitectonica. He hopes to pick an architect within the subsequent six months and break floor inside two years. “It will create a new entrance, more outward-facing to the community,” he mentioned, and add some galleries.