Brielmaier has more than two decades of nonprofit and private sector experience, and specializes in exhibitions, scholarship, strategic planning, digital strategy, and social impact initiatives. She received her PhD in art history from Columbia University, and has served on the New Museum Board of Trustees since 2016.
In making the announcement, museum director Lisa Phillips noted: “Isolde possesses a truly unique combination of talents, affinities, and experience. These qualities coupled with her sound judgement and understanding of the many complexities facing our field, will serve the New Museum well in its next chapter.”
Brielmaier’s appointment comes at a critical time for the museum amid a tumultuous year and accusations of “toxic” leadership by museum employees. Last November, art collector Seth Stolbun announced his resignation from the board of directors at Rhizome, the digital art-focused organization affiliated with the museum.
Stolbun shared his resignation on Instagram and cited a expose in which employees alleged instances of verbal harassment, emotional abuse, and unethical business practices at the institution, in which a former registrar called the museum a “sweatshop,” while a former assistant said that Phillips runs the institution as “her private fiefdom.”