Christopher Scoates, director of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, is parting ways with the institution effective today, Artnews reports. Scoates, who had held the position for just over two years, is the fourth director to step down from the MAD post in ten years.
Holly Hotchner, who had led the museum since 1996, departed in 2013. She was succeeded by critic and curator Glenn Adamson, who lasted only three years before turning over the keys to Jorge Daniel Veneciano. Veneciano made for the exit just five months later, citing a commitment to “the fate of humanism and democracy.”
Such a high level of turnover in a top position is practically unheard of at large institutions. Scoates, who came to MAD with a strong interest in “intersection of design and experimental sound and new media and its relationship to contemporary culture,” shed no light in his departing statement on the conditions that might have led to the steady exodus of directors, nor has he offered any clue as to his future plans.
“I would like to thank the staff and board for their great work in making MAD such an innovative and vibrant institution,” he said. “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.”
Scoates, who previously served as director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, oversaw a $20 million endowment campaign while at MAD. The museum has announced that Michele Cohen, chair of the board of trustees, will take over as interim leader until a new director can be found.