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"His creative administrative intuition has reshaped the life of the arts in Bucks County."
Bruce Katsiff has experimented in a variety of subjects and styles through a career that has seen major technological change. He has spent a great deal of time going against the grain and mastering the rarefied art of platinum printing. His images can be evocative, displaying hidden beauty in complex constructions. He uses many types of cameras to make his art, from 35mm to large format. He has most recently developed a series of large scale digital color work he calls Face Maps.
Born in Philadelphia, the son of a butcher and a seamstress, Katsiff found a personal connection to photography at Central High School, working on the student newspaper. At age 17, he had his first exhibit at the Guilded Cage Coffee House in Philadelphia. To please his parents, he entered the pre-law program at Penn State, but soon left to pursue a career in photography. Katsiff attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a BFA, and later earned an MFA from Pratt Institute. He completed post-graduate coursework at Oxford University.
Katsiff's pictures have been exhibited in museums around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, the Tainjan Institute in China, and the American Arts Center in Exeter, England.
His career spans more than 40 years as a well-regarded fine artist, community leader, and museum professional. Katsiff's academic career began as a photography professor and, by the time he was 27, Chair of the Art and Music Department at Bucks County Community College (BCCC). He was instrumental both to the creation and expansion of the Hicks Art Center and served BCCC for 17 years. Under his leadership the department earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. He established programs in woodworking, computer graphics, jewelry, foundry and glassblowing, and recruited five Guggenheim Fellows (Emmet Gowin, Nancy Hellebrand, Michael Smith, Larry Fink and George Krause).
From 1989 until his retirement in 2012, Katsiff served as Director/CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum. Katsiff turned a modest art center into a robust arts institution with an unparalleled collection of acclaimed regional artists including more than 2,500 works. In 1999, the acquisition of 59 paintings and a $3 million endowment from renowned philanthropists Marguerite and H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest made the Michener the primary repository for the finest public collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist art. The original building, a former county jail, was expanded five times to more than 63,000 square feet of space for exhibitions, research, publication, education, events, conferences, state-of-the-art preparation and collection storage, to become the second most visited art museum in the Greater Philadelphia area, with more than 120,000 visitors per year. Katsiff even managed to broker a deal between the Michener and the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, for a traveling exhibition of major Renaissance masterworks, which had never left Europe, and included paintings by Botticelli and Titian.
Katsiff is the recipient of the 2012 Pennsylvania Governors Award for Arts Leadership & Service and also serves as an accreditation reviewer for the American Alliance of Museums. The exhibitions Bruce Katsiff: 50 Years - Looking Back and Forward, and the group exhibition (including Katsiff) Face Maps: Explorations in Space, Shape and Soul organized by the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, New Jersey, opened in 2017.
Bruce Katsiff in front of the Garber mural. James A. Michener Art Museum.
Education & Training:
Pratt Institute, New York, MFA, 1973
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York, BFA, 1970
Oxford University, Post Graduate Studies at Kings College, Oxford, UK 1987
Delaware Valley College, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
Director & CEO, James A. Michener Art Museum, 1991-2012
Chair, Fine Art Department, Bucks County Community College,
Oxford University, Post Graduate Studies at Kings College, Oxford, UK 1987
Professor, Fine Art, Bucks County Community College 1969-1995
Additional Arts Activities:
University of the Arts, Evaluator Arts Administration Program, 2008
American Association of Museums, Accreditation Evaluator,
American Association of Museums, MAP Advisory Committee, 2004- 2009
Academy of Vocal Arts, Board Member, 1999-2008
Conservation Center for Art and Artifacts, Board Member, 2010- present
Doylestown Hospital, Board Member, 1998-2003
Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission, Museum Review Panel, 1997
New Jersey Council on the Arts, Museum Review Panel, 1996-1998
Pew Charitable Trusts, Arts Fellowship Regional Council, 1993-1995
Photography Sesquicentennial Project, Board of Trustees, 1988-1990
Bucks County Board of Architectural Review, 1987-1989
National Association Schools of Art and Design, Accreditation Evaluator ,1984
Pennsylvania Council On The Arts, Museum Panel, 1982-1985
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Visual Arts Panel, 1987-1990
Pennsylvania Council On The Arts, Entry Panel, 2009-2010
Connection to Bucks County
Director & CEO, James A. Michener Art Museum 1991-2012
Chair, Art and Music Division, Bucks County Community College 1988-1990
Chair, Fine Art Department, Bucks County Community College 1975 - 1987
Professor, Fine Art, Bucks County Community College 1969 - 1995
Bruce Katsiff has been involved professionally with the Bucks County community since 1969. He and his family lived for more than 30 years in Lumberville, Bucks County until they relocated to Doylestown, PA in the late 2000s.
One and Two Person Exhibitions:
Allegheny College, Bowman Gallery, Meadville, PA
Booktrader Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Bowman Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Hicks Art Center, Newtown, PA
Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL
Krasdale Gallery, White Plains, NY
Perks Gallery, New Hope, PA
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
Photographer's Eye Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh Filmmakers Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA
Pratt Institute, New York, NY
River Run Gallery, Lambertville, NJ
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester NY
Underground Gallery, New York, NY
Washington Center for Photography, Washington DC
Selected Group Exhibitions:
Pennsylvania Photographers II, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown PA
Pennsylvania Photographers V, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown PA
American Photographers, American Arts Center, Exeter, England
Bucks County Art Alliance, Lahaska PA
Past and Present, Bucks County Community College, Newtown PA
The Art of Photography, Bucks County Library Center, Doylestown, PA
Philadelphia Photographers, Cigna Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA
Vision and Expression, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Lost/Found Objects, Lawrence Gallery, Rosemont, PA
Contemporary Photographers, Legacy Gallery, Newtown, PA
Masters of the Platinum Print, Monsoon Gallery, Bethlehem, PA
Photography as Printmaking, Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
Alternative Visions, Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA
164th Printmaking and Drawing Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Four Person Exhibition, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA
Vision and Expression, Philadelphia Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Four Person Exhibition, Rodman House, Doylestown, PA
Ironworks 88, Santa Fe Photography Center, Santa Fe, NM
Lehigh University Collection, State Capital, Harrisburg, PA
Group Exhibition, Stover Mill Gallery, Erwinna, PA
American Photographers, Tianjin Institute, Tianjin, China
Annual Exhibition, The Print Club, Philadelphia, PA
Central High School Alumni Exhibition, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA