News Press Release


SFMOMA Announces New Deputy Directors And Organizational Shifts In Curatorial Division

Release date: December 5, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, December 5, 2002—Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), today announced the appointment of two deputy directors and a director of collections and conservation, as well as some structural shifts in the organization of the Museum's curatorial division.

Ruth Berson, formerly director of exhibitions, and Katie Koch, formerly chief administrative officer, have been promoted to deputy director for programs and collections and for administration and finance, respectively. Both served as co-acting directors of SFMOMA from August 2001 through July 2002. Benezra also announced that Jill Sterrett has been named director of collections and conservation, having held that position in an acting capacity since March 2001. Additionally, the Museum's five curatorial departments—painting and sculpture, photography, architecture and design, media arts and education—and the development department will now report directly to Benezra.

"Ruth and Katie have done a tremendous job—as has the entire SFMOMA staff—in tackling the significant challenges and transitions of the past year," states Benezra. "One of the reasons I came to SFMOMA was the high level of excellence and professionalism that exists across the board, from the curators through all levels of administration. I feel fortunate to have such an experienced pool of leadership to draw upon in moving this important institution forward."

Deputy Director, Programs and Collections
Ruth Berson joined SFMOMA as exhibitions director in July 2000. She continues to oversee the exhibitions and installation departments and assumes oversight of the collections division (conservation, registration, library and collections information and access) as well as the department of publications, graphic design and the web. Berson came to SFMOMA from the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, where she served as associate director for five years and oversaw a major building expansion. Previously, Berson was an independent exhibition consultant in Europe and served as curator of European art and textiles at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco from 1980 to 1989. She holds a master's degree in art history from the University of California at Berkeley and in 1999 was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government's Ministre des Arts et de la Culture.

Deputy Director, Administration and Finance
Katie Koch joined the Museum in November 1998 as chief financial officer and was promoted to chief administrative officer in March 2000. As deputy director, Koch is responsible for the finance division, MuseumStores and Artists Gallery, facilities and operations department, information systems and services, human resources, and the marketing and communications department. Koch was previously controller and acting finance director of the San Francisco Symphony, and before that spent 12 years in public accounting at Coopers & Lybrand in their Los Angeles, San Francisco and Paris offices. Koch is also a volunteer for Business Volunteers for the Arts and a board member of the Financial Women's Association of San Francisco, the Business Art Council and the California Shakespeare Festival.

Director of Collections and Conservation
Jill Sterrett has served as head of conservation since June 2000 and acting director of collections since March 2001. In her new combined position, she continues to oversee SFMOMA's renowned team of six conservators and assumes permanent responsibility for the registration department, the collections information and access team and the SFMOMA library. Sterrett will report to Berson.

Sterrett joined the Museum in 1990 as conservator for works on paper and photographs. Prior to her SFMOMA appointment, Sterrett served in the conservation departments of a number of distinguished institutions, including the Library of Congress, the National Library of Australia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Sterrett received a master of arts degree and certificate of advanced study in conservation from the Cooperstown Graduate Program and earned her bachelor's degree in art history and chemistry from Denison University.

Media Contacts

  • Polly Winograd Ikonen, 415/357-4173,
  • Libby Garrison, 415/357-4177,

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, SFMOMA is currently undergoing a major expansion project to open in 2016 that will significantly enhance gallery, education, and public spaces, enabling the museum to better showcase more of its expanded permanent collection. While the museum is temporarily closed for construction, from June 3, 2013 to early 2016, SFMOMA will be “on the go” with an extensive array of off-site programming across the Bay Area, including collaborative and traveling museum exhibitions, major outdoor projects and commissioned installations, and new education initiatives.

Visit our Web site at www.sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.

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