Great Hall of the Historic Duke House to Be Renamed for Board Chair

Marica Vilcek

NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts is renaming the Great Hall of the James B. Duke House in honor of its Board Chair, Marica Vilcek. A member of the Institute’s board since 2013, Marica has supported numerous fellowships in art history, archaeology, and conservation. In 2018, Ms. Vilcek and her husband, Dr. Jan T. Vilcek, endowed the Institute’s Marica and Jan Vilcek Curatorial Program, ensuring the Institute’s position as a premier school in the training of curators for the global arts community.

William R. Berkley, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at NYU, said, “I'm thrilled to recognize Marica’s incredible contributions to the Institute with the naming of the Marica Vilcek Great Hall at the Institute of Fine Arts. Marica’s generosity, passion, and leadership have allowed the Institute to grow and thrive and we are honored to have her as such an important member of the Institute and the NYU community.”

“As a Board Member and Chair,” said Andrew Hamilton, President of New York University, “Marica has steadfastly supported the Institute’s mission: excellence in scholarship, and development of the next generation of leadership in art history and curation, archaeology, and conservatorship. I cannot think of a more apt distinction than to name the Great Hall, the heart of the IFA’s long-time home, after Marica, who has so devotedly sustained the heart of IFA’s work.”

Christine Poggi, the Judy and Michael Steinhardt Director of the Institute of Fine Arts, said, “It is particularly fitting to have Marica Vilcek’s name grace our Great Hall because it’s emblematic of her role at the heart of the Institute. It is in this iconic space that we host so many of the Institute’s events, gatherings, and  exhibitions. Future events and celebrations in this hall will take on a new meaning as we recognize such a devoted patron of the arts and of the Institute.”

Ms. Vilcek was born in Bratislava, Slovakia (then Czechoslovakia), and earned advanced degrees in art history from Comenius University in Bratislava and Charles University in Prague. Upon graduation, she began her professional career in a curatorial position at the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava.

In 1965, Ms. Vilcek, with her husband, Dr. Jan T. Vilcek, immigrated to the United States. Shortly after arriving in New York, Ms. Vilcek accepted a position at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, beginning a 32-year tenure at the institution. As the Metropolitan Museum’s associate curator in charge of the Accessions and Catalogue Department, Ms. Vilcek dedicated the majority of her time with the museum to collections management and was responsible for processing and cataloguing the museum’s new acquisitions. Ms. Vilcek authored the museum’s procedural manuals on accessioning and cataloguing, and advised scores of curators, administrators, students, and interns on collections management.

Ms. Vilcek has served as a consultant to nonprofit organizations including the Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish Museum in New York City, and the Jordan National Gallery in Amman. She is Chair of the NYU Institute of Fine Arts Board of Trustees, and a board member of the New York Youth Symphony and the Foundation for a Civil Society. Ms. Vilcek also serves as an honorary trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In 2005, Ms. Vilcek joined her husband, a biomedical scientist, in giving the New York University School of Medicine one of the largest gifts in its history. In recognition of their generosity, the school has named several programs, chairs, and facilities in their honor. In 2005, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America recognized Dr. and Ms. Vilcek as Humanitarians of the Year, and in 2011 they received the Outstanding New Yorker award given by the Center for an Urban Future in New York City. In 2012, Ms. Vilcek accepted, on behalf of the Vilcek Foundation, the Steven K. Fischel Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Immigration Council in Washington, DC.

Ms. Vilcek cofounded the Vilcek Foundation with her husband in 2000. The foundation’s primary mission is to recognize and celebrate the contributions of immigrants in the United States. The foundation’s  dual focus on biomedical research and the arts derives from the couple’s respective interests and careers. Since the foundation’s inception, Ms. Vilcek has played an integral role in the conceptualization and administration of its programs and exhibitions. She has also used her experience as an art historian and curator in the development of the Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection, a promised gift to the Vilcek Foundation, which includes an unparalleled group of American Modernist works, as well as significant examples of pre-Columbian art and Native American pottery.

About the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU
Since 1932 the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU has been dedicated to graduate teaching and advanced research in the history of art, archaeology, and conservation. The Institute has a faculty unrivaled in the breadth and depth of its expertise and in the range of its visiting lecturers from top museums, research institutes, and conservation studios. The Institute has conferred more than 2,700 degrees, and its alumni hold leadership roles as professors, curators, museum directors, archaeologists, conservators, critics, and institutional administrators throughout the U.S. and internationally.


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