Photo: David Heald
Board of Trustees to begin search for a new Director after Armstrong’s 14 years of tenure. As leader of the institution, he consolidated the Guggenheim’s global expansion with a thoughtful, experimental, and artist-centered approach.
Richard Armstrong announces that in 2023 he will retire from his role as Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation overseeing the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and constellation; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. He also serves on the Foundation’s board of trustees. In the interim, he will continue to lead the long-term strategic and daily operations of the museums, and work together with the board as they search for a new director and transition to new leadership.
Since Armstrong was named to the directorship in November 2008, the Guggenheim has expanded global initiatives to broaden the geographical scope of the museum’s collection and activities, including the Asian Art Initiative and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, set to be completed in 2025, and this year marks the 25th Anniversary of Guggenheim Bilbao. With an emphasis on scholarship, exploring lesser-known histories, and in-depth presentations of single artists, exhibitions presented under Armstrong’s direction include ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s; On Kawara—Silence; Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting; Agnes Martin; Moholy-Nagy: Future Present; Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World; Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future; and Maurizio Cattelan: All.
Richard Armstrong expresses, “In my time as Director, I’ve had the opportunity to lead efforts that ensure solid footing and deliver a robust global cultural program for the Guggenheim. I’m proud of what we have accomplished including: caring for the staff, embracing principles around DEAI and sustainability, defining our brand for the future, and coming through the pandemic with financial health. As a leadership team, we have listened, learned, and adapted to meet the changing dynamics of our program, brand, audiences, and funders. I look forward to watching the Guggenheim community continue to flourish and be a catalyst for inventive thinking and transformative art experiences long after my departure.”
J. Tomilson Hill, Board Chair, states, “Since assuming the role of Director in 2008, Richard has been a superb leader for the Guggenheim. Richard has been a steady and encouraging presence across our constellation of museums guiding Bilbao, Venice and the future Abu Dhabi venues. He has built a preeminent team of professionals, guided our museums with great skill through the pandemic, helped recruit dynamic new board members, and fostered a culture of scholarship, innovation and inclusion. Richard’s commitment to artists, their practices and strong exhibition programming will be a lasting legacy for his tenure and has laid a strong foundation for his successor to build on.”
Wendy Fisher, Board President, states, “Under Richard’s thoughtful leadership, the Guggenheim has presented critically acclaimed programing that connected visitors to the museum’s founding vision, highlighted artists whose voices had been overlooked, and showcased the ever-evolving ‘art of our time.’ Richard’s unfailing dedication to the artistic integrity of the Guggenheim constellation and steadfast commitment to its staff—particularly through the challenges of the past 2 years—have made the museum stronger and more vibrant.”
Richard Armstrong’s institutional legacy of leadership lays the groundwork for a new period of growth. He leaves in place a strong executive leadership team, which saw the appointment of Chief Curator, Naomi Beckwith, as well as an engaged and diverse board. Marking a positive shift in the leadership structure to advance DEAI efforts, the museum also appointed its first Chief of Culture and Inclusion Officer, Ty Woodfolk. During Armstrong’s tenure the endowment has grown by more than double and the Guggenheim has engaged with innovative corporate philanthropy partners such as Deutsche Bank; BMW; UBS; Bloomberg; Dior; Van Cleef & Arpels and most recently, LG. Furthermore, a robust Education and Public Program divisions saw multi-faceted growth, as well as a commitment to working with creative partners such as Works and Process, The World Around, and establishing the museum’s first Poet-in-Residence. And this year, Armstrong managed the receipt of a transformative gift from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection jointly held by the Guggenheim and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was established in 1937 and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of modern and contemporary art through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The international constellation of museums includes the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. An architectural icon and “temple of spirit” where radical art and architecture meet, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is now among a group of eight Frank Lloyd Wright structures in the United States recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. To learn more about the museum and the Guggenheim’s activities around the world, visit guggenheim.org.