Martin Roth the director of the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) is to step down after five years at the helm. The museum was named museum of the year, under his tenure and the galleries saw record visitor numbers, especially for the David Bowie, Is and Alexander McQueen exhibitions. More than 300,000 people attended the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A in 2013
The German-born director has now aired his concerns over Brexit and is worried about the future of the institution now that the UK has voted to leave the European Union. In July, he stated in an interview that it “feels like skiing in very thick fog”. He added that he had received letters from potential funders “asking if we can put things on hold”. ‘More cultural barriers’ Before the referendum, he told German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, that, as a German growing up after World War Two, he viewed Europe as being “synonymous with peace”. Mr. Roth said: “For me, Europe always gave hope for a peaceful future, based on sharing, solidarity, and tolerance. “Dropping out always means creating cultural barriers and that worries me.” When asked whether he believed he would have been given the V&A job if the vacancy had arisen after a Brexit vote, he replied: “I’d probably still be offered a job, but the question is rather, would that job still be as attractive in such a context?”
Mr. Roth was previously at the Dresden State Art Collections. A German curator and academic he was appointed by the museum’s board of trustees and the then Prime Minister David Cameron. Martin Roth is no stranger to overseeing vast amounts of historical decorative arts and will be a welcome addition to the V&A illustrious history of directors which included Sir Roy Strong. The 59-year-old said he was “honoured” to be the new director of “the world’s leading museum of art and design”.He replaced Sir Mark Jones, who has led the V&A since 2001 who left the museum to become Master of St Cross College, Oxford. Prof Roth was the chief curator at the German Historical Museum in Berlin and director of the German Hygiene-Museum in Dresden before taking up his current role in 2001.
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