February 5, 2019

Jessica Martinez to Lead Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University

ITHACA, NEW YORK—Jessica Levin Martinez has been named the Richard J. Schwartz Director of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University. Martinez comes to the Johnson Museum from the Harvard Art Museums, where she was the head of the Division of Academic and Public Programs. She succeeds Stephanie Wiles, now director of the Yale University Art Gallery, and will begin her tenure July 15, 2019.

At the Harvard Art Museums, Martinez advanced the institutions’ teaching and research initiatives with faculty and students in the university, including graduate advisement and the establishment of the Art Study Center. She also played a role in institutional advancement and public programming. She received a doctorate in art and art history from Harvard in 2004 and served as an educator and administrator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art from 2008 to 2012.

“In a way, an academic museum like the Johnson is unique because it drives scholarship. It’s a place of both rigor and delight,” Martinez said. “It can be a place of beauty and of great intellectual challenge for people in so many field of inquiry. Whether they’re deep in art history or in a field not typically connected to a museum, looking closely and thinking critically can make interdisciplinary connections and spark new questions. I want the museum to be a site for research and development, a place where people can test ideas. Nearly 400 classes are already visiting the Johnson Museum each academic year, and that constant flow of opportunity with new students, fresh eyes, and bold questions is exciting to me.”

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