Martha Tedeschi Is Harvard Art Museums’ New Director

She's currently a deputy director courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago at the Art Institute of Chicago.


Photo courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

Et voilà, the last of three major museum director vacancies in Boston has been filled.

The Harvard Art Museums announced Wednesday that Martha Tedeschi—currently the deputy director for art and research at the Art Institute of Chicago—will take on the role at H.A.M. starting this July. Her predecessor, Thomas Lentz, departed in July 2015 after a 12-year run that included a massive renovation and integration of the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler museums.

“The Harvard Art Museums have been brilliantly reimagined by the recent renovation and I am exhilarated at the prospect of leading them at this moment to realize their enormous potential,” Tedeschi says. “I look forward to working with the full range of the art collections, the talented staff of the museum, and collaborators across the University and in the community to fully activate the building, nurturing a dynamic and inclusive laboratory for considerations of the visual in our lives.”

Tedeschi studied art history for her B.A. and Ph.D. from Brown and Northwestern Universities respectively. She started at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982 as a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) intern and became a full curator in 1999. Among her many achievements, she has led a number of higher ed partnerships and programs and led efforts for the Art Institute to assess and digitize its permanent collections.

In a way, Tedeschi is the final piece of the puzzle for Boston’s museum scene in recent years.

In 2014 and early 2015, the directors of three of the city’s top storehouses—the Museum of Fine Arts (Malcolm Rogers), the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Anne Hawley), and the Harvard Art Museums (Lentz)—all announced their departures. There’s no conspiracy here—all three had been in their roles for a long time and helmed major renovations at their respective institutions. Since then, Rogers has been succeeded by Matthew Teitelbaum, Hawley by Peggy Fogelman, and now, Lentz by Tedeschi. Jill Medvedow, in case you were wondering, has been director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston since ’98.