Martina Droth, currently Deputy Director of Research, Exhibitions and Publications, and Curator of Sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art, has been named Deputy Director and Chief Curator. In her new position, Droth will provide strategic leadership and oversight to the Center’s curatorial departments. She will be responsible for the care and growth of the Center’s collections and for conceiving and organizing permanent collection displays and temporary exhibitions, working collectively with the curatorial departments to formulate and implement intellectually rigorous, imaginative, and compelling programs. Stepping down from this role is Scott Wilcox, who recently became a Senior Research Scholar at the Center.
Since first joining the Center as Head of Research and Curator of Sculpture in 2009, Droth has distinguished herself through the administration of a robust research program and her own exceptional scholarship. During her tenure, the Center has welcomed numerous visiting scholars from across the globe, convened major multiday academic conferences, hosted annual symposia for graduate students at Yale and beyond, and organized a variety of exhibition and publication planning workshops. Many of these research activities were supported by a series of Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grants.
“I am pleased that Martina has agreed to take on this important role and want to thank her for her leadership over the past decade in shaping the research endeavors at the Center,” said Courtney J. Martin, director of the Yale Center for British Art. “She has a deep commitment to art and to artists. I look forward to working with her to ensure that our collections remain accessible and engage creatively and effectively with audiences.”
Droth’s research and curatorial work have culminated in many notable exhibitions at the Center and other venues. She was cocurator, with Julius Bryant, of Caro: Close Up, on view at the Center in 2012; cocurator, with Jason Edward and Michael Hatt, of Sculpture Victorious: Art in an Age of Invention 1837–1901, on view at the Center in 2014 and Tate Britain in 2015; cocurator, with Glenn Adamson and Simon Olding, of “Things of Beauty Growing”: British Studio Pottery, on view at the Center in 2017 and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, in 2018; and curator of Bill Brandt | Henry Moore, which is currently on view at the Hepworth Wakefield and will travel to the Center in spring 2021. These projects were accompanied by important publications with scholarly essays and illustrated catalogues. In 2018, “Things of Beauty Growing”: British Studio Pottery won the American Ceramic Circle publication award. Bill Brandt | Henry Moore, coedited with Paul Messier, was recently shortlisted for this year’s Aperture PhotoBook Award. Droth has also organized displays featuring sculptures by the contemporary artists Nicola Hicks and Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA). Her forthcoming projects include an exhibition of works by Hew Locke.
With colleagues at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, Droth was instrumental to the creation of the open access, born-digital, peer-reviewed journal British Art Studies, and she continues in the role of coeditor. Since 2017, she has served as chair of the Association of Research Institutes in Art History.
“I am honored and excited to serve in this role at a pivotal time for the museum. I look forward to working with my colleagues in creating an innovative program that realizes the full potential of the Center’s collections,” said Droth.
Droth’s research focuses on interdisciplinary approaches to practice, materials, and modes of display, with a particular emphasis on British sculpture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Recent publications include the “Sculpture: Method, Practice, and Theory” in Oxford Annotated Bibliographies Online: Art History; The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers: A Transatlantic Object, a special issue of Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide coedited with Michael Hatt; and British Sculpture Abroad: 1945–2000, a special issue of British Art Studies coedited with Penelope Curtis.
Droth earned her PhD at the University of Reading, where she wrote her dissertation on “Statuettes and the Role of the Ornamental in Late Nineteenth-Century Sculpture.” She received her master’s degree in the history of art, with a focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century sculpture, installation art, and decorative arts, from Goldsmiths, University of London, and her BA from Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London. Prior to joining the Center, she was a research coordinator and curator at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK.