Adam Weinberg, who has been director of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York for 20 years, will leave his post when his contract expires on October 31st. Scott Rothkopf, who is currently Senior Associate Director and Chief Curator, will take over.
The Whitney Museum NYC has said that Adam Weinberg, who has been a director for 20 years, is leaving his job. In a press release, Weinberg said he would leave the museum when his contract expires on October 31.
Weinberg will become Whitney’s honorary director. The museum’s announcement did not say what he was going to do next.
Adam Weinberg has been with the Whitney Museum of American Art since 1989 when he was hired as director of the museum’s branch at the Equitable Center, a skyscraper in midtown Manhattan. He mostly stayed at the museum, leaving only briefly to become director of the American Center in Paris and the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts.
Weinberg was in charge when the Whitney Museum of American Art moved from his longtime home on Madison Avenue, designed by Marcel Breuer, to his current home in the Meatpacking District in 2015. The museum’s new building, which reportedly cost $422 million and was designed by Renzo Piano. , was praised by lots of people.
When the board of directors hired Weinberg, one of his most important tasks was probably the completion of the new building. His predecessor, Maxwell Anderson, stepped down as museum director in 2003 after the board canceled architect Rem Koolhaas’ $200 million plan to expand the iconic Breuer Museum building on Madison Avenue.
Since the Whitney Museum of American Art reopened, its programming has also been praised for giving it new life. Since 2015, the museum has hosted important exhibitions focusing on immersive video installations, Puerto Rican art after Hurricane Maria, and figurative painting, among others.
Over the past few years, the Whitney Museum NYC has installed a permanent installation by David Hammons and refurbished the Roy Lichtenstein Studio, which will be used to house the Independent Study Program at other times.
During Weinberg’s tenure as director, attendance tripled, from 400,000 a year to 1.2 million in the pre-pandemic years, and donations rose from $40 million to $400 million. Between 2003 and 2023, the museum hosted about 300 exhibitions and nine biennials, some of which caused difficulties.
Rothkopf became Whitney’s curator in 2009 and quickly made a name for herself, amassing important reviews from artists such as Glenn Lygon, Wade Guyton, Jeff Koons, Mary Heilmann, and Laura Owens. He was also part of the team that produced America Hard to See, Whitney’s first show in a new building in the Meatpacking District. This exhibition opened in 2015.
The same year, Rothkopf was appointed chief curator, replacing Donna De Salvo, who had long managed the museum’s collections. Rothkopf also became Senior Associate Director in 2018. During his tenure as Chief Curator, Rothkopf employed the likes of Rujeco Hockley, Marcela Guerrero, and Adrienne Edwards, who were very important to the institution’s curatorial team.
Rothkopf was a senior editor at Artforum and curator at the Harvard Art Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts before joining Whitney Museum of American Art.