Those who are leading and transforming major public galleries, museums and institutions across the globe.
Kaywin Feldman (MA 1991), Director, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
“While studying at The Courtauld, I learned that art changes people’s lives.”
In 2018 Kaywin Feldman became the first woman Director of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Prior to this she had directed three other major cultural institutions: the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art and Science, the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. During her ten years leading the Minneapolis Institute of Art she expanded the collection and attendance rates doubled. She placed emphasis on the importance of digital access, as well as adopting social justice and equity programmes.
Kaywin has also served as president of the Association of Art Museum Directors and as chair of the American Alliance of Museums.
Naomi Beckwith (MA 1999), Deputy Director & Chief Curator, Guggenheim Museum, New York
“I aim to stretch the bounds of art history by bringing the marginal to the center.”
Naomi Beckwith is Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. She was previously Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) and was featured in Chicago Magazine’s ’50 Most Powerful Women in Chicago’ list in 2020. She curated some of the most innovative exhibitions in the history of MCA Chicago, including the Howardena Pindell retrospective, The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now (2015), Color Blind: The MCA Collection in Black and White (2013), and the Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago exhibition in 2020. Naomi has also worked at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Her curatorial work focuses on the deficit of people of colour and women in the western art-historical canon, multi-disciplinary art practices and respecting cultural differences in an age of globalisation.
Frances Morris (MA 1983), Director, Tate Modern
“My journey began at The Courtauld”
Frances Morris joined Tate as a curator in 1987 and worked her way up through the institution until she became first woman director of Tate Modern in 2016. In 2000, when the gallery first opened, Frances played a pivotal role in the early development of the gallery. Her controversial curatorial decisions as Head of Displays (such as displaying works thematically instead of chronologically, with contemporary artworks sitting alongside the works of Monet, Matisse and Picasso), transformed the way that museums presented the story of art.
During her successful career at Tate Frances has made it her mission to broaden and diversify the gallery’s international, non-Western collection, celebrate women artists, introduce more live and performance art and ensure that Tate remains at the forefront of pioneering museum display.
Nicholas Cullinan (BA 2002, MA 2003, PhD 2010), Director, National Portrait Gallery, London
“A professor at The Courtauld once told me that ‘we are all here to serve artists’. This has stayed with me over the years and still guides everything I do.”
Nicholas Cullinan is an art historian, curator and current Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London. He completed his BA, MA and PhD at The Courtauld and his PhD thesis, The Archeology of Knowledge: Excavating Arte Povera, was supervised by Professor Sarah Wilson. During his student days Nicholas worked as a visitor services assistant at the National Portrait Gallery, little knowing that he would later become its director, aged just 37. Nicholas has been responsible for leading a £35.5m transformation of the gallery, with the aim of making it “more relevant, more open and more accessible.”
Prior to taking the helm at the National Portrait Gallery, Nicholas worked in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world, including the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, New York and Venice and curatorial roles at Tate Modern and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
During the course of his career Nicholas has curated highly acclaimed exhibitions, including Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern, which was one of the most successful exhibitions in the gallery’s history.
Gemma Rolls-Bentley (MA 2009), Chief Curator, Avant Arte
“The friendships I made at the Courtauld have been truly instrumental in my career. The Courtauld brings together such a broad range of interests from across the arts and the people you meet go on to become lifelong friends and collaborators.”
Gemma Rolls-Bentley has been at the forefront of contemporary art for 15 years, most recently in leadership roles at the intersection of art and technology and as the curator of landmark projects that amplify the work of queer artists and provide a platform for art that explores LGBTQ+ identity. She is currently Chief Curator at Avant Arte, the digital arts platform that makes art radically more accessible for a new generation.
Before joining Avant Arte, Rolls-Bentley was Curatorial Director at Artsy where she led the online art platform’s curatorial strategy. She is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art and co-chairs the board of trustees of Queercircle, a charity that supports art, culture, health and well-being in the LGBTQ+ community and she is a member of the Courtauld Association Committee.