Robert Storr, a prominent curator and artist, has been appointed to serve as the dean of the Yale School of Art for five years effective this July, Yale President Richard Levin announced Tuesday.

Storr, who was unanimously recommended by an eight-person search committee chaired by School of Art professor Tod Papageorge, will replace current dean Richard Benson, who has held the position for nearly 10 years. Storr currently serves as a professor of modern art at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and served as a curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art from 1990 to 2002.

Levin said the recommendations of the search committee were unusual in that all of its members were in complete agreement on Storr’s selection. Other search committees usually submit two to four recommended candidates for a position, Levin said.

“He will bring, of course, a vast experience that is relevant,” Levin said. “Professor Storr’s record was so compelling and his vision of what the School of Art could become was so convincing that there was really no close second choice.”

Storr was unavailable for comment Tuesday night.

Museum of Modern Art Director Glenn Lowry said he believes Storr possesses valuable skills that will prove an asset in his new position.

“Bob is an accomplished artist, a highly talented curator and a very serious intellect, and those are three critical skills to the deanship,” Lowry said. “I think he will do an outstanding job.”

The initial stage of the search process consisted of compiling a list of candidates based on the suggestions of committee members and the approximately 100 art school alumni who responded to a request for nominations, Papageorge said. Papageorge said the new dean is well suited for the position.

“He will bring a remarkably articulate perception to the educational mission of the school, a remarkably wide-ranging knowledge of the international and New York art worlds, and I think a personality that will fit in well with the faculty of the school and the students of the school,” Papageorge said.

Storr’s experience both as an artist and art critic will prove beneficial to Yale, said David Pease, professor emeritus and former dean of the Art School.

“I think Rob really has an incredible breadth of experience and sort of touches all the bases that the School of Art is involved with,” Pease said. “He understands the life of a studio artist, the ambitions of young artists and what they do when they get out of school. He’s a terrific writer, and I think it’s a great appointment.”

Storr also currently serves as consulting curator of modern and contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and will also be the first American to serve as commissioner of the 2007 Venice Biennale, a major contemporary art show held every two years in Italy.