Jock Reynolds will step down from his position as director of the Yale University Art Gallery when his term ends in June 2018, according to an email to the faculty from University President Peter Salovey on Thursday afternoon.
In the email, Salovey announced that a committee comprising alumni, faculty and administrators will work alongside the recruitment firm Korn Ferry to search for Reynolds’ replacement.
“The two decades of [Reynolds’] tenure in the directorship have been a remarkable period of flourishing, growth and transformation for the gallery,” Salovey wrote. “We are indebted to him for all that he has done to augment Yale’s standing as a preeminent institution of the arts, and I am deeply grateful for his longstanding leadership and partnership.”
Reynolds was appointed director of the YUAG in 1998, after nearly a decade in charge of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover. During his time at Yale, he presided over a 14-year, $135 million renovation of the YUAG, expanding the gallery’s exhibition space by nearly 25,000 square feet. He also oversaw the gallery during the University’s legal fight over the ownership of Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpiece “The Night Café” and has won numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other organizations.
But his most important legacy as director of the YUAG was the massive renovation that began almost as soon as he arrived in New Haven in 1998. The purpose of the renovation was to connect the gallery’s three separate buildings — Street Hall, the Old Yale Art Gallery and the museum’s landmark Louis Kahn building — and provide new exhibition space for holdings that had been stuck in storage for years.
When the renovation was completed in 2012, The New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl called the YUAG “by a fair margin the mightiest teaching-related museum in the United States.”
Alejandro Nodarse ’19, who works as a guide at the YUAG, said he will remember Reynolds as an “astounding speaker and teacher.”
“[Reynolds] taught us, the gallery guide trainees, to look longer and think more thoroughly,” Nodarse said. “Works that one might simply pass by became opportunities for sustained inquiry and reflection. His eloquence and generosity — both with his brilliance and his time — will be most sorely missed.”
The members of the new YUAG search committee include art professor Mary Miller GRD ’81, Deputy Provost Emily Bakemeier, history of art professor Tim Barringer, Dean of the School of Architecture Deborah Berke, University Librarian Susan Gibbons, music professor Daniel Harrison MUS ’86, gallery conservator Ian McClure and YUAG advisory board members Roger Horchow ’50 and John Walsh ’61.