October 6, 2021 – Spencer Stuart has assisted in the recruitment of Johanna Burton as executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. She was selected after an extensive international search. “Johanna is an accomplished leader whose experience, management skills and passion prepare her for this important new role,” said Maria Seferian, chair of the museum’s board of trustees. “We believe that this new model of distributed leadership with an executive director working in partnership with an artistic director is responsive to this moment in our history. We are moving toward an interconnected team model focused on advancing institutional missions with mutual trust and responsibility.”
Ms. Burton has been active in the contemporary art field for more than 20 years, including more than a decade of leadership experience in major museums and prominent arts and education institutions. She is a highly esteemed curator and thinker who has published extensively. Ms. Burton comes to MOCA after serving as director of the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH. Prior to that, she was the Keith Haring director and curator of education and public engagement at the New Museum in New York.
In her new role, Ms. Burton will be tasked with overseeing MOCA’s day-to-day operations, including staff initiatives, particularly those related to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). She will also be heavily involved in fundraising.
“It’s thrilling to join MOCA’s team at this historic moment, and I am humbled to take a leadership role at such a pivotal institution for communities both local and international,” said Ms. Burton. “MOCA’s artist-centered mission dovetails with my own commitment to creating platforms that foster artistic innovation and emphasize deep connections to audiences.”
Established in 1979, MOCA is the only artist-founded museum in Los Angeles. It is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art. The museum has one of the more compelling collections of contemporary art in the world, comprising roughly 7,000 objects. MOCA has a diverse history of groundbreaking, historically significant exhibitions.
Privately held since 1956, Spencer Stuart focuses on delivering knowledge, insight and results through the collaborative efforts of a team of search professionals — now spanning 56 offices, 30 countries and more than 50 practice specialties. The firm helps boards and leaders address their leadership needs in areas such as senior-level executive search, board recruitment, board effectiveness, succession planning, in-depth senior management assessment and many other facets of organizational effectiveness.
Serving Arts and Cultural Organizations
According to Spencer Stuart, arts and cultural organizations today face unrelenting pressures, from rising costs to increasing competition and changing audience demographics. With a limited pool of leaders with direct experience dealing with these challenges to draw on, we apply creative solutions to help these organizations find the leadership talent they need to overcome these obstacles and continue to deliver exceptional artistic and cultural experiences, the firm says.
Spencer Stuart’s team of consultants has helped build the leadership teams and boards at top cultural organizations. The firm has conducted more than 50 senior-level executive and board searches for an expansive range of arts and culture organizations over the past five years. Eighty five percent of the firm’s work in this space is for C-suite roles and more than 70 percent is for CEOs. Spencer Stuart;s education, nonprofit and & government practice group serves museums, performing arts organizations, graduate schools of art, art and design schools, science centers, and conservatories of music along with global development & social enterprise concerns, among others.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media