Adam Weinberg, the longtime director of New York’s Whitney Museum, will leave his post after 20 years at the helm, the museum announced in a statement Wednesday.
In the release, Weinberg announced that he would resign from the museum at the end of his contract this October and he will be succeeded by Scott Rothkopf, who currently serves as senior deputy director and chief curator.
Weinberg had steered the Whitney as it relocated from the Marcel Breuer–designed Madison Avenue space where it had been sited for many years to its 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 widely praised, with the New York Times‘s Michael Kimmelman writing, “There’s a generosity to the architecture, a sense of art connecting with the city and vice versa.”
The programming since the museum’s reopening has also been acclaimed for injecting new life into the institution. Since 2015, the museum has mounted key shows devoted to immersive video installations, Puerto Rican art after Hurricane Maria, and figurative painting, among others.
One of the greatest controversies of Weinberg’s career came in 2018, when it emerged that Warren Kanders, the vice chair of the Whitney’s board, owned a company that produced the tear-gas canisters fired at migrants along the US-Mexico border. In the ensuing nine months, protests were regularly held in the museum’s lobby, and Whitney Biennial participants threatened to pull out. Ultimately, Kanders resigned.
Rothkopf joined the Whitney as a curator in 2009, and quickly built up a reputation for working on key surveys for some of today’s most closely watched artists, including Glenn Ligon, Wade Guyton, Jeff Koons, Mary Heilmann, and Laura Owens. He was also a member of the team that organized the Whitney’s inaugural display in its new building in the Meatpacking District, “America Is Hard to See,” which opened in 2015.
That same year, Rothkopf was promoted to chief curator, taking over from the institution’s longtime curatorial head, Donna De Salvo. In 2018, Rothkopf also took on the role of senior deputy director. During his tenure as chief curator, Rothkopf greatly expanded the institution’s curatorial team, with key hires such as Rujeko Hockley, Marcela Guerrero, and Adrienne Edwards.
Prior to joining the Whitney, Rothkopf was a senior editor at Artforum and had served as a curator at the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This is a developing story.