Suhanya Raffel Appointed Executive Director of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum

Raffel is replacing Lars Nittve, who quit the directorship in January.

Suhanya Raffel, new Executive Director of M+. Courtesy of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

The West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) in Hong Kong has announced the appointment of Suhanya Raffel to the position of executive director of its ambitious museum project, M+.

Raffel will replace Lars Nittve, whose notice of resignation from the post in October 2015 rattled the Asian art world. Nittve, who had been at the helm of the 47-strong team overseeing the construction and launch of M+ since 2011, stepped down in January 2016, when his contract ended.

Related: Lars Nittve Steps Down as Director of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum

Raffel is currently deputy director and director of collections of the Art Gallery in New South Wales, Australia, although she’s familiar with the M+ project, as she joined the team as a technical expert in 2014.

Rendering of the M+ Museum. Courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District.

Rendering of the M+ Museum. Courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District.

Raffel is a prominent museum specialist with senior management experience in collection, research, and programming as well as a stellar reputation for her scholarship on contemporary Asian art.

“Ms Raffel is an expert in Asian contemporary art, and has over 30 years of professional experience in museum management. She brings with her a wealth of museum management experience in the areas of curatorship, exhibitions and collection development,” Carrie Lam, chairman of the board of the WKCDA, said in a statement.

“Her capable leadership, professionalism and vision inspire our confidence in the successful opening of a world-class M+ Museum in just three years’ time,” she added.

The appointment of Raffel is hopefully the right move for M+, an institution that has struggled to keep its head above water since its inception in 2011.

Last year construction delays set back the public opening of the museum until 2019 and the resignation of her predecessor was only one in a slew of resignations from the institution’s core team.

Yung Ma. Courtesy of K11Art Foundation and Centre Pompidou.

Yung Ma. Courtesy of K11Art Foundation and Centre Pompidou.

This past June, M+ associate curator Yung Ma stepped down to take a position at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The chief executive of the WKCDA, Michael Lynch, left in February 2015, shortly followed by senior curator Tobias Berger, who then took on the role of head of art at the Central Police Station art complex, also in Hong Kong.

Raffel’s will take up the post at the beginning of November, and will be responsible for management and planning, development of curation and collections, as well as fundraising for M+.

“We are delighted to have Ms Raffel to join us as Executive Director for M+, a highly demanding position,” Victor Lo, chairman of the M+ board, said in a statement. “From now until the opening of M+ Museum and beyond, Ms Raffel has the exciting and daunting task to deliver on the promise of M+, to make it Hong Kong’s world-class museum for visual culture and of course to meet and surpass public expectations.”


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