Remembering Martin Roth

Martin Roth speaking passionately about the opportunites for global cultural exchange at the 2016 U.S.-China Museum Summit

The museum community has lost a great scholar, museum director, and champion. Dr. Martin Roth died in Berlin on August 6, 2017, after a battle with cancer. Dr. Roth was born on January 16, 1955, in Stuttgart, Germany, and went on to receive his PhD from the University of Tubingen in 1987. He was the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum from 2011 to 2016, where he had great success with avant-garde and socially conscious exhibitions, such as “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” “Disobedient Objects,” and “Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design.” These initiatives led to record-breaking attendance numbers and a Museum of the Year Award in 2016. Most recently, Dr. Roth was the President of Germany’s Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Relations), which was founded in his birth city Stuttgart and is “committed to peaceful and enriching coexistence between people and cultures worldwide.”

Dr. Roth’s penchant for international relations and the continuation of cultural exchange was felt when he joined Asia Society in 2016 to give a keynote address alongside Hsueh-man Shen, Associate Professor: Ehrenkranz Chair in World Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; and Gong Liang, Vice President of the Board, Chinese Museums Association & Director of Nanjing Museum, for the 2016 U.S.–China Museum Summit, which brought together leaders of major museums in China with their U.S. counterparts to explore opportunities for cultural exchange and to build connections with their peers.

Boon Hui Tan
Vice President for Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Museum Director