Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg to Step Down

Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg to Step Down

Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg to Step Down

The Whitney Museum of American Art’s longtime director Adam Weinberg will depart later on this yr, the establishment declared today. Weinberg will be succeeded by the museum’s existing senior deputy director and main curator, Scott Rothkopf, on November 1. 

Weinberg has helmed the Whitney because 2003, and his 20-calendar year tenure was marked by a multitude of institutional adjustments and controversies. The museum moved from the Upper East Aspect to a modern Renzo Piano setting up in the Meatpacking District in 2015. Two yrs later,  the Whitney Biennial’s inclusion of Dana Schultz’s polarizing oil painting of the late Emmett Till laying mutilated in his casket drew protests calling for the work’s removing and destruction. 

In 2018, Hyperallergic noted that Whitney trustee and benefactor Warren Kanders owned Safariland, a protection weapons producer that created tear fuel canisters for US border patrol brokers to deploy on hundreds of migrants at the San Diego-Tijuana border. Times following Hyperallergic’s original report, more than 100 museum personnel associates created and signed an open letter demanding that the museum acknowledge the outlined allegations. This prompted an equal sections defensive and dismissive letter from Weinberg in which he said that “we need to stay inside the legislation of culture and observe the ‘rules’ of our Museum.”

In response, activist team Decolonize This Spot — in conjunction with a number of other organizations — staged a “Nine Weeks of Art and Action” protest leading up to the 2019 Whitney Biennial to desire that the museum sever ties with Kanders, who sooner or later resigned that June. 

In its announcement right now, the museum credits Weinberg with developing the Whitney’s attendance, membership, and staffing numbers as well as its endowment, which has reached about $400 million. But Weinberg’s tenure also witnessed a grueling labor struggle. In April 2020, the museum laid off 76 personnel in anticipation of pandemic-induced financial losses, dismissing a different 15 employees the up coming year, ensuing in a 20% slash to personnel. Citing unlivable wages and job insecurity, Whitney staff announced their intent to unionize in May 2021, and the Whitney Museum Union was officially acknowledged two weeks later on. Staff then bargained with leadership for 16 months (and held substantial-profile protests) until just previously this 7 days, when the union finally secured its first contract.

According to the Whitney’s press statement, Weinberg will develop into an honorary trustee of the museum’s board. He will go on to perform on initiatives, this kind of as the transformation of the Roy Lichtenstein Studio and Home into the to start with everlasting household of the Whitney’s Unbiased Analyze Application, until his departure as director this fall.

Hailing from Dallas with a degree in artwork heritage from Harvard College, Scott Rothkopf joined the Whitney as a curator in 2009. He has structured a number of exhibitions at the museum, which include Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror (2021 to 2022), Laura Owens (2017 to 2018), and Glenn Ligon: America (2011).