a portrait of Estrellitta B. Brodsky, she is wearing a white long sleeve top with black pants, and is sitting on a decorative, red and beige couch

February 1, 2024

Hirshhorn Museum Announces New Board Chair, Estrellita B. Brodsky
Additional Appointments to the Board of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Include Ek-Anong Phanachet and Mahshid Ehsani

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden announced the election of Estrellita B. Brodsky as chair of its board of trustees.

A curator with a doctorate in art history, Brodsky is a collector and philanthropist committed to advancing the presence and appreciation of modern and contemporary art, notably art from Latin America and its diaspora. Brodsky will lead the Hirshhorn’s 38-member board at a pivotal moment: the Hirshhorn this year celebrates its 50th anniversary as the national museum of modern and contemporary art. The Museum is also embarking on a mission-driven transformation that will revitalize its Sculpture Garden on the National Mall.

Brodsky succeeds Dan Sallick, who served on the Hirshhorn’s board of trustees for 12 years, 8 of those as chair. He will become a trustee emeritus of the Museum. In addition to the leadership transition, the board also approved two new members, Ek-Anong (Aey) Phanachet and Mahshid Ehsani.

The Museum’s director, Melissa Chiu, welcomed Brodsky’s appointment. “Estrellita understands the Hirshhorn’s place in broadening access to the voices of artists,” said Chiu. “At no other time has there been such strong interest in contemporary art. Estrellita’s leadership will help fulfill our mission: to connect artists, their work and ideas with audiences who come to our campus on the National Mall or engage with our programs virtually. I am excited to work together and build on Dan Sallick’s leadership.”

Brodsky received her doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She has curated exhibitions on post–World War II Latin American artists including Jesús Rafael Soto, Carlos Cruz-Diez and Julio Le Parc. She has endowed curatorial positions in Latin American art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art and supported scholarships in Latin American art at Hunter College and the Institute of Fine Arts. She is a founding member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Latin American Art Initiative and MoMA’s Latin American and Caribbean Fund, and she is a trustee of the Tate Americas Foundation. In 2015, she founded ANOTHER SPACE, a program and not-for-profit exhibition gallery established by the Daniel and Estrellita B. Brodsky Family Foundation to broaden international awareness and appreciation of art from Latin America and its diaspora. She has served on the Hirshhorn’s board since 2022.

“I am honored to serve as board chair,” said Brodsky, “and to continue the visionary and committed board leadership established by my predecessor, Dan Sallick. As the national museum of international modern and contemporary art, the Hirshhorn fosters an artistic and educational program by promoting access to art for all, reflecting the nation’s varied perspectives and global voices. I look forward to advancing the Museum’s mission and collaborating with the board, staff, curators and fellow Smithsonian museums.”

The first major exhibits scheduled to open under Brodsky’s leadership will be “Revolutions: Art from the Hirshhorn Collection, 1860–1960” and “OSGEMEOS: Endless Story,” the first US museum survey and largest US installation of work by identical twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, known globally as OSGEMEOS.

“The Hirshhorn has never been in a stronger place,” said Sallick. “Estrellita’s experience as board co-chair at El Museo del Barrio, visiting curator at Pérez Art Museum Miami, adjunct professor at Hunter College and focused collector makes her an ideal leader to collaborate with Hirshhorn communities to broaden the impact of America’s most accessible modern and contemporary art museum.”

He cited the ongoing revitalization of the Sculpture Garden, approved in 2022, and Annabelle Selldorf/SOM’s revitalization of the Museum Plaza and building as a reaffirmation of the Museum’s commitment to maintaining its place at the forefront of modern and contemporary art and creating spaces for broad audiences. Sallick was instrumental in the creation and launch of Hirshhorn Eye, the Museum’s award-winning video guide that uses image recognition technology to connect audiences with artists, and the virtual activation of artworks including Yoko Ono’s “Wish Tree for Washington, DC” (2007) during the pandemic.

New board appointees:

  • Following a successful career in investment banking, Ek-Anong (Aey) Phanachet established 100 Tonson, a Bangkok gallery-turned-nonprofit focused on supporting and promoting Thai contemporary art, in 2003.
  • Mahshid Ehsani holds master’s degrees in systems management and biomedical informatics from the University of Southern California and Columbia University, respectively. A philanthropist with a commitment to health education and awareness, Ehsani is also a collector who has supported arts initiatives and exhibitions at the Andy Warhol Museum, the Asia Society Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

About the Hirshhorn Collection

The Hirshhorn’s permanent collection, which opened 50 years ago this year in its iconic Gordon Bunshaft-designed building on the National Mall, includes artworks by leading artists from the late 19th century to the present day and comprises paintings, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media installations, works on paper and new-media works. The Hirshhorn has one of the most comprehensive collections of modern sculpture in the world, with many examples on view inside the Museum and in its Sculpture Garden.

An active acquisition program continually adds work to the Hirshhorn collection in all media, with an emphasis on new work and the work of artists exhibiting at and collaborating with the Museum. Artists such as Ai Weiwei, Mark Bradford, Charles Gaines, David Hammons, Mona Hatoum, Robert Irwin, Yoko Ono, Raphael Montañez Ortiz, Susan Philipsz, Adrian Piper, Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo and Rachel Whiteread are represented by major works. Global modernism is also a collecting focus, and recent additions include works by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Natsuyuki Nakanishi and Park Seo-bo.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all. The Hirshhorn Museum is open daily, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. Follow the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Image credit: Estrellita B. Brodsky. © Timothy O’Connell, 2023