Holly Block, Director of the Bronx Museum, Dies at 58

At the Bronx Museum, on the Grand Concourse near East 165th Street, Ms. Block’s achievements included lifting all admission fees in 2012 and increasing annual attendance to 100,000 visitors from 25,000. At the same time, this relatively small museum sponsored the exhibition that represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2013.


The Bronx Museum of the Arts.

G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

The featured artist for the exhibition was Sarah Sze, whose intricate installation, made from everyday objects and materials, filled the American pavilion.

Ms. Block and Carey Lovelace, a critic and independent curator, had proposed Ms. Sze to the State Department and organized the exhibition.

Tom Finkelpearl, commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, wrote in an email that Ms. Block’s death “will not diminish the legacy of her creative, vibrant and effective leadership in New York’s cultural community.”

Ms. Block was born on Dec. 24, 1958, in Princeton, N.J. Arriving on Christmas Eve, she was named for the holiday’s traditional greenery. Her father, A. Harvey Block, was an experimental psychologist; her mother, the former Cielle Fink, was assistant dean of the school of higher education at the Catholic University of America in Washington.

Ms. Block graduated from Georgetown Day School in Washington and attended Bennington College in Vermont, earning a bachelor’s degree in photography and sculpture in 1980. She briefly studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Ms. Block returned to Washington in 1981 and worked at a commercial gallery there organizing exhibitions. She then spent three years at the Washington Project for the Arts, a nonprofit alternative space, first as office manager and then as programs coordinator, a position that involved fund-raising.


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