Martin Roth, the German-born director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, will leave his post this autumn after five years in the role. The Guardian has reported the decision follows his disillusionment at the Brexit vote, quoting him as saying the vote to leave “felt like a personal defeat” and that dropping out “means creating cultural barriers and that worries me”.
The V&A was recently awarded Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016, which was cited as one of his reasons for leaving in the museum’s official statement. He says the accolade “feels like the perfect moment to draw to a close my mission in London and hand over to a new director”.
As the museum’s first foreign director, Martin established the Design, Architecture and Digital department, and presided over two of the museum’s most popular exhibitions: David Bowie is and Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. The latter reached the highest level of visitor numbers in the museum’s 150-year history.
He also oversaw the redevelopment of multiple galleries, including the new Exhibition Road entrance, courtyard and gallery (opening next year), and the partnerships with new V&A outposts in Shenzhen, Dundee and the Queen Elizabeth Park on London’s Olympic site.
According to the museum’s statement, Martin intends to dedicate more time to international cultural consultancies, and with his family in Berlin and Vancouver. The museum’s board of trustees will now begin a search for the new director.