Swizz Beatz Joins Brooklyn Museum Board of Trustees

Is this the beginning of a celebrities-on-museum-boards trend?

Swizz Beatz, KAWS, and Alicia Keys. Photo: Clint Spaulding/PatrickMcMullan.

Hip-hop artist, producer, and increasingly high-profile art collector Kasseem Dean, better known as Swizz Beatz, is adding another line to his art world resume by joining the Brooklyn Museum’s board of trustees.

Dean is a fitting appointment, considering he privately collects several of the artists the museum has shown and supported, including KAWS, Swoon, Kehinde Wiley, and FAILE.  This summer, he played at DJ set during the opening of “FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Mind.” At Art Basel in Miami Beach last year, he curated a booth at SCOPE art fair featuring several of the artists in his collection.

“These guys are my friends and they were going back [to the museum] saying how I was helping them,” Dean told the Wall Street Journal.

Dean is originally from the South Bronx, but didn’t develop an interest in art until he was in his twenties, after he began to find success as a musician and producer.

Swizz Beatz with artist Kehinde Wiley. Photo: J Grassi/Patrick McMullan.

Swizz Beatz with artist Kehinde Wiley.
Photo: J Grassi/Patrick McMullan.


While the involvement of celebrities in the art world is nothing new, it’s unusual for someone as high-profile as Dean to sign on to do the heavy lifting that comes with sitting on a museum board. Could this become a trend? Will Leonardo DiCaprio ever try to sit on the board of the Whitney? Jay Z at the Met? Lady Gaga at MoMA? (Actually, that one’s not so far-fetched.)

“I want to be able to pull out my global Rolodex,” Dean said regarding what he hopes his presence on the board can bring to the museum.

That file includes everyone from superstar wife Alicia Keys to pals like Kanye West, as well as brands such as Christian Louboutin and Reebok. Maybe a second sneaker show will be in the works?

In addition to Dean, the museum also announced the appointment of philanthropist and former private equity executive Barbara Vogelstein, a former trustee who, along with her husband, endowed the museum’s contemporary art curator position in 2005.

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