Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg Steps Down After 20 Years At the Helm

Scott Rothkopf will take over as the Whitney's director after Adam Weinberg announced he will leave his position in the fall.

Adam Weinberg speaking at podium in suit, orange background
Adam Weinberg will leave the Manhattan museum later this year. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Whitney Museum of American Art)

Long-time Whitney Museum director Adam Weinberg, who has headed the institution since 2003, plans to step down from his position later this year.

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He will depart on Oct. 31 and hand over the reins to Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s current senior deputy director, according to a statement released yesterday (March 8) by the museum. Weinberg will work with Rothkopf throughout the leadership transition and continue to pursue ongoing Whitney projects he initiated, including the renovation of late artist Roy Lichtenstein’s Greenwich Village studio as a study program for the museum.

Working at the Whitney “has been the greatest joy and privilege of my life,” said Weinberg in a statement. “Even as I now step aside to take on new opportunities in the cultural community, as everyone knows, my heart will always be with the Whitney.”

Scott Rothkopf posing in front of exhibition of Edward Hopper painting.
Scott Rothkopf will become director on Nov. 1. (Photo by Udo Salters/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Weinberg first joined the museum in 1989 after working at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center. Under his leadership, the museum’s annual attendance grew from 400,000 to 1.2 million, membership increased from 12,000 to 50,000 and the institution’s endowment rose from $40 million to more than $400 million.

He also led the museum through a number of controversies, including protests in 2017 over its display of a painting by white artist Dana Schutz which depicted the funeral of Emmett Till, a black teenager murdered in Mississippi in 1955. Two years later, Whitney vice chairman Warren Kander stepped down from his role after demonstrations over his company’s sales of tear gas. And earlier this month, the museum ratified its first union contract with employees after 16 months of negotiation.

Rothkopf, who has worked under Weinberg for the past 13 years, initially joined the institution as a curator in 2009 after working at the Harvard University Art Museums. “We’re extremely well poised for the next chapter, which promises to be more vital and relevant than ever,” he said in a statement.

Whitney Museum Director Adam Weinberg Steps Down After 20 Years At the Helm