William Griswold Will Direct the Cleveland Museum of Art

The Morgan Library and Museum's director is Ohio-bound.


The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) has hired William M. Griswold of New York’s Morgan Library and Museum as its new director, reports the New York Times. Griswold fills a vacancy left by David Franklin’s scandal-ridden October 2013 resignation (Franklin had an extramarital affair with a colleague who later committed suicide).

The mid-western institution has seen a great deal of turnover among directors in recent years. In 2005, Katharine Lee Reid retired to spend time with family after five years in the role. (Her father, Sherman Lee, directed the CMA from 1958–83, and died in 2008.) Reid’s successor, Timothy Rub, lasted for only three years before leaving to direct the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Before Franklin came on board, Deborah Gribbon had served as interim director from 2009–10.

Griswold is leaving the Morgan after 13 (non-consecutive) years at the institution. He headed the museum’s drawing department from 1995 to 2001, and has been its director since 2008. In between, Griswold was the associate director for collections at Los Angeles’s J. Paul Getty Museum, and, for a short time, its acting director. Griswold then went on to direct the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for two years.

Leading the CMA is a big step up from the relatively small Morgan. The Cleveland institution boasts a $750 million endowment, as opposed to the Morgan’s $190 million. Griswold’s new institution also has much more encyclopedic holdings, where the Morgan primarily focuses on Western art.

Soon, the CMA will finish work on an ambitious eight-year, $350 million expansion and renovation project that has been largely overshadowed by Franklin’s controversial departure. Griswold described Cleveland to the Times as “an explosion of cultural activity,” citing such institutions as the Cleveland Symphony and the Transformer Station contemporary art space.

The Morgan intends to set up a search committee to find a new director, and will hire someone on an interim basis in the meantime. Griswold will make the move to Ohio in the fall.

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