Daniel Weiss, president New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art since 2015 and its CEO since 2017, will leave the institution in June 2023. Weiss, whose tenure encompassed the global Covid-19 crisis, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the financial restructuring of the museum, was known for his levelheaded handling of fiscal and managerial matters. Under Weiss’s leadership, the museum managed to survive financially despite being forced by the pandemic to shutter and lay off staff; the institution additionally stepped up its commitment to staff diversity and committed increased funding toward the purchase by works of artists of color.
“Dan Weiss has transformed The Met,” said Candace Beinecke and Tony James, cochairs of the museum’s board of trustees, in a statement. “His vision, commitment to mission, and ability to inspire tae large and diverse team of Met colleagues are exemplary, and the results speak loudly for themselves.”
Weiss, a noted art historian and former president of Haverford College, during his stint at the museum balanced its $310 million budget, raising $1.5 billion from private donors and sparking outrage in some quarters by ending the museum’s long-running pay-as-you-wish policy for out-of-state visitors, responding to a decade of declining gate revenue. He shepherded the transfer of the Met Breuer, the Brutalist structure that for decades housed the Whitney Museum of American Art, to the Frick Collection. Weiss additionally initiated three transformative architectural projects: these comprise the $70 million renovation of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, home to the museum’s collection of sub-Saharan African, Oceanic and ancient American artworks; the $40 million restoration of the Ancient Near Eastern and Cypriot galleries; and the $500 million remodeling of the Modern Wing, which is partly funded by a $125 million gift from Met trustees Oscar Tang and Agnes Hsu-Tang. Weiss was instrumental in assuring a smooth transition of leadership between Met director Thomas Campbell, who resigned in 2017 amid financial turbulence at the museum, and Max Hollein, who assumed the role in 2018.
Weiss’s is the third in a string of high-profile departures at the Met in recent months, which will see Sheena Wagstaff, since 2012 the chair of its department of modern and contemporary art, leave this summer. Randall Griffey, a curator under Wagstaff since 2013, a month ago announced that he would be leaving the institution to serve as head curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
“Dan has led the Museum through unprecedented times,” said Hollein. “He has been an extraordinary partner, whose wisdom and judgment have set an example for us all. I look forward to working with Dan on the many exciting initiatives we have planned for the coming year.”