Michael R. Zakian, longtime director of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University and adjunct professor of art history at Seaver College, passed away on January 14, 2020. He was 62.

Zakian took the helm as the director of the Weisman Museum in 1995, just three years after it was founded, and for the past 25 years his name has been intertwined with that of the institution.

In lieu of flowers, members of the Pepperdine community are encouraged to contribute to the Michael Zakian Exhibition Fund.

“For more than 25 years, Pepperdine was fortunate to have Michael Zakian lead the Weisman Museum of Art,” says Rebecca Carson, managing director of the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts at Pepperdine. “His writing and storytelling helped make the work of Rodin, Chihuly, Andy Warhol, Agnes Pelton, and countless other artists come alive for patrons of all ages and backgrounds. Michael’s work brought the thousands of people who visit the Weisman each year inspiration, joy, and wonder. He will be sorely missed.”

In a Pepperdine Magazine story published in 2015 on the occasion of his 20th anniversary at the university, Zakian explained, “At Pepperdine my primary goal is education. I’m not just showing beautiful things to be admired for their own inherent beauty. I always emphasize that this art was made to convey certain ideas or make a particular point . . . we use our eyes all the time, but often we really don’t see what is in front of us.”

Sharing art was Zakian’s passion, and his commitment to bringing art, and the enjoyment of it, to the public was in perfect alignment with the vision of the museum’s namesake benefactor. He said that while some people considered art “a little off-putting and challenging,” it was his desire that the Weisman Museum “break down those barriers.”

Learn more about Zakian’s life and contributions to the Pepperdine community: http://bit.ly/2toEpdp


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