Courtney Martin, director of YCBA, will lead Rauschenberg Foundation
Courtney J. Martin ’09 Ph.D., the Paul Mellon Director of the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA), has accepted a new appointment as executive director of the New York-based Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
Martin, a scholar of historical and contemporary art who has led YCBA since 2019, will continue in her Yale role until June 30, 2024.
“A strategic, visionary leader, she has strengthened the YCBA over the past five years and set it on a trajectory for even greater accomplishments,” Yale President Peter Salovey wrote in a message to the community on Feb. 8.
While Martin joined the YCBA in 2019, her relationship with Yale goes back much farther. She earned her doctorate in the history of art at Yale in 2009 and contributed to the YCBA’s award-winning 2007 exhibition, “Art and Emancipation in Jamaica.”
As director of the YCBA, Martin oversaw several exhibitions, including “Bridget Riley: Perceptual Abstraction,” the first retrospective of Riley’s paintings in the United States in more than two decades; “Marc Quinn: History Painting +,” an exhibition of works by the British artist; and “The Hilton Als Series: Njideka Akunyili Crosby,” which featured the works of Njideka Akunyili Crosby ’11 M.F.A.
During her tenure, Martin also helped YCBA increase educational opportunities for students and scholars. She oversaw the establishment of a Henry Moore Foundation Artist in Residence program for Yale School of Art students and a new joint postdoctoral fellowship with the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.
Last year she implemented the next phase of conservation of the YCBA’s iconic modernist building, designed by architect Louis Kahn. The project focuses on exterior improvements, including the replacement of the museum’s roof and its 224 domed skylights, as well as significant upgrades to the gallery lighting system. The YCBA is expected to reopen in April 2025.
“These physical improvements serve as a symbol of Dr. Martin’s commitment to the future of the YCBA’s landmark building and the safeguarding of its collections for generations to come,” Salovey said.
Martin, whose YCBA tenure overlapped with the COVID-19 pandemic, developed innovative ways to fulfill the art museum’s mission even though its doors were closed to the public until March 2022. She designed the center’s first remote public program with the launch of “at home: Artists in Conversation and Architects in Conversation: To Build for Art,” which has allowed the museum to engage with more living artists than at any other point in its history.
“Dr. Martin has brought great energy and high achievement to her role as director of the YCBA,” the president said. “She plans to complete several projects before her departure in June.”
Plans for a celebration of Martin’s accomplishments will be announced later this semester.
Salovey said he will soon launch an international search for her successor.