Francesco Spagnolo is the Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life. He is also an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music and the Center for Jewish Studies, and is affiliated with the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, the Institute for European Studies, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and the Religious Diversity Cluster of the Haas Institute.
His publications include
- Italian Jewish Musical Traditions (Rome-Jerusalem, 2001)
- The Jewish World: 100 Treasures of Art and Culture (New York, 2014)
Spagnolo hosts cultural programs for Italian National Radio (RAI) in Rome, and is a Scholar-in-Residence with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco.
As the Curator of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, Dr. Spagnolo holds the primary responsibility regarding the intellectual and academic interpretation of its holdings, recommends acquisitions, deaccessions, and conservation priorities, presents and publishes in national and international settings, plans exhibitions, and public and academic programs, mentors and supervises all personnel in curatorial duties, teaches University courses, and cultivates major donors. Since the beginning of his tenure at The Magnes, he has curated (from conception to installation) over 30 individual exhibitions and 200 public programs (including talks, symposia, screenings, performances, etc.) in collaboration with presenters ranging from UC Berkeley faculty and students to visiting scholars, artists, and members of the community. He has presided over more than 100 individual collection gifts and has led the acquisition of new important collections, including the Mark and Peachy Levy Family Judaica Collection (2016), the Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection (2017), the Roman Vishniac Archive (2018), and the Berman-Bloch Collection of Israeli Art (2019). In 2021, he selected a mezuzah case to be displayed in the Official Residence of the Vice President of the United States in Washington, DC.