Christopher Scoates, the director of Museum of Arts and Design, stepped down from his post on Friday, making him the fourth leader at the venerable New York institution to leave the institution’s job top in the past decade. Scoates had been the museum’s director since 2018.
“I would like to thank the staff and board for their great work in making MAD such an innovative and vibrant institution,” Scoates said in a statement. “Now that we have successfully navigated the pandemic and are poised to reopen, I felt it was the right time to focus on working with other institutions that are navigating the challenging times ahead.”
A representative for MAD confirmed to ARTnews that Michele Cohen, the chair of the board of trustees, will become the interim leader of the museum. A release announcing Scoates’s sudden departure did not detail his next move.
Scoates is one of several MAD directors to have stepped down over the last 10 years, marking a period of high turnover that is rare in high-ranking positions at major institutions. In 2013, Holly Hotchner, who had led the museum since 1996, departed MAD. Glenn Adamson, a critic and curator, picked up the reins, leading the museum for just two and a half years before Jorge Daniel Veneciano became director in 2016. Veneciano then led the museum for just a few months before he left, claiming a commitment to “the fate of humanism and democracy.”
As director of MAD, Scoates helped guide the museum through a $20 million endowment campaign. Prior to directing MAD, he had been the director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
Correction, 8/21/20, 11:55 p.m.: A previous version of this article misstated the first name of the chair of the board. It is Michele, not Michael.