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Rome Robbins
American Academy appoints an architect as president.
Lily Kesselman

In late October, the American Academy in Rome announced that it has selected Mark Robbins as its new president and CEO. Robbins, an architect and artist and a fellow of the academy in 1997, currently serves as the executive director of the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York, a position he has occupied for a year. Prior to that he was the dean of architecture at Syracuse University.

At the Academy, Robbins will succeed Adele Chatfield-Taylor, a historic preservationist who restored the institution’s McKim, Mead & White home and built a more than $100 million endowment.

"Mark is one of the most enterprising and original figures of his generation. He is fascinated by the work of both artists and scholars, especially in the fields of our fellowships, and he will bring a fresh take to all sectors of our life,” Chatfield-Taylor said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with him during the transition, and know he will take our beloved institution to a whole new level of excellence."

“What is so amazing about Adele and the Academy is the incredible foundation that she built,” Robbins told AN. “I’m arriving at a very lucky moment.” He demurred about commenting on any specific plans, but added: “Every president brings their own viewpoint, their own approach.”

The American Academy awards the Rome Prize annually to artists and scholars who are invited to live in residency and pursue their work. “It has aspects of a cultural institution and aspects of an academic institution,” he said, “so it’s in a way a hybrid of my experiences at ICP and at Syracuse.”

When Robbins arrived at ICP, many speculated he would help the museum and school build or secure a new space. “It’s no secret that ICP is looking for space,” he said. “I believe that search will continue.”

Alan G. Brake