Victoria Sancho Lobis Named Director of New Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College

Victoria Sancho Lobis, a talented art historian, curator and administrator whose most recent curatorial appointment was at The Art Institute of Chicago, will become the director of the new Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College, starting Jan. 6.

Since 2013, Lobis has served in a range of curatorial and administrative roles at The Art Institute of Chicago, and she was interim chair of the Department of Prints and Drawings in 2016-17. She recently completed a multi-year project related to the Art Institute’s holdings of Dutch and Flemish drawings, culminating in a scholarly catalogue and exhibition, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Drawing in the Golden Age.

Lobis was instrumental in developing the Art Institute’s permanent collection in the field of Dutch and Flemish prints and drawings, and she also contributed to an institution-wide effort to enhance the representation of Viceregal Latin American art.

Her curatorial experience reaches across a broad range of subject areas, including projects treating medieval manuscript illuminations, early modern prints and drawings, Viceregal Latin American painting, Whistler and his influence, modern and contemporary Latin American works on paper and contemporary American drawings. She has also published in the fields of contemporary artists’ books and contemporary American photography

“Victoria’s highly regarded work in so many areas meshes perfectly with the wide-ranging nature of the museum’s collections—and the wide-ranging artistic and intellectual interests of our community,” said Robert Gaines, Pomona’s interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college

Opening in fall 2020, Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College will provide a space for some of SoCal’s most compelling exhibitions at a college that has helped launch some of the region’s most influential artists. Located where the campus meets the lively Claremont Village and the city’s civic center, the new museum replaces the existing Pomona College Museum of Art (PCMA), nearby on the Pomona College campus. Exhibitions there will continue through May 2020.

“I am delighted by the prospect of developing the new museum’s program and collections in the context of Pomona’s remarkable academic community at the same time that the museum will serve as a cultural resource for Southern California,” said Lobis. “The design of the new museum articulates the values of accessibility and transparency; I look forward to realizing the promise it symbolizes as we build on the legacy of so many innovative projects realized by the Pomona College Museum of Art.” 

A recognized leader, Lobis was a 2018 fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership, one of the most prominent programs teaching managerial skills and values of effective leadership to outstanding museum curators. 

 Before her time at the Art Institute, Lobis served for four years as the inaugural curator of the print collection and fine art galleries at the University of San Diego. She has also held fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

In addition to her role as the Sarah Rempel and Herbert S. Rempel '23 Director of Pomona’s museum, Lobis will hold a coterminous appointment in the Art History Department.

Lobis is no stranger to The Claremont Colleges. She has been part of the faculty of Claremont McKenna College’s History Department as well as the colleges’ joint art history program. She also has taught at University of Chicago, University of San Diego, Columbia University, New York University and Williams College.

 She received her B.A. from Yale University, her M.A. from Williams College, and her M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

For decades, Pomona College has played a key part in shaping innovative artists, including Helen Pashgian, James Turrell, Peter Shelton, the late Marcia Hafif and the late Chris Burden. The new museum’s collection will include pieces from all of these alumni, and future exhibitions will carry forward the College’s emphasis on cutting-edge art in the Los Angeles region.

The new museum will provide state-of-the-art storage and ease of access for a growing permanent collection of over 14,000 objects, ranging from Native American art to Renaissance panel paintings to works by such artists as Karl Benjamin, Rico Lebrun and Jose Clemente Orozco. Designed by Machado Silvetti Associates and Gensler, and built to LEED gold standards of sustainability, the new museum is made possible by a $15 million gift from Janet Inskeep Benton, a 1979 graduate of the College and long-time supporter of the arts.

“Victoria fully embraces the role of the museum in both the educational mission of the College and the enrichment of campus life,” said Benton. “She sees the museum as a dynamic space, a public square where students teachers, artists, curators and community come together to explore ideas and dialogue about issues. This activation of our beautiful new building is sure to further Pomona’s rich history of promoting innovative and provocative art in Southern California.”