YCBA 2022–2023

Director’s Message

Photo of smiling woman in black dress

Photo by Mara Lavitt

Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director

Dear Friends:

As I write this letter in July 2023, the Yale Center for British Art is enveloped in scaffolding and fencing, making it clear to passersby that the latest phase of our building conservation plan is underway. We closed the museum to the public in late February so that we could replace the roof and original skylights, upgrade the gallery lighting system, and make other improvements to infrastructure and for sustainability. As we approach the museum’s fiftieth anniversary in 2027, my colleagues and I feel a renewed sense of responsibility to preserve our landmark building and safeguard our collections for generations to come.

The past year has been one of the busiest and most fruitful in the museum’s history. In addition to meticulously planning and preparing for the renovations, we welcomed more than 43,000 visitors during the eight months that the museum was open; presented major exhibitions and focused installations; loaned objects to museums and institutions in Europe and across the United States; added incredible new works to our collection; hosted conversations, gallery talks, lectures, symposia, tours, and workshops; and shared our resources with families, scholars, students, and visitors from all over the world.

After more than two years in which nearly all of our programming had to take place online, it was a delight to welcome artists and writers to the museum in person. In September, I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion between writer Elizabeth Alexander (Yale BA 1984) and artists Jordan Casteel (Yale MFA 2014) and Glenn Ligon. Other programs that filled our Lecture Hall to capacity included conversations with architect Peter Zumthor, who spoke with Billie Tsien (Yale BA 1971) and Tod Williams, and with painter Jenny Saville. Poet Bob Holman shared his new poems inspired by the work of Bridget Riley with a rapt audience in our galleries. Pulitzer Prize–winning critic Hilton Als spoke about The Hilton Als Series: Njideka Akunyili Crosby, the third and final exhibition in a series he curated for the YCBA. The show later traveled to the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, where Akunyili Crosby (Yale MFA 2011) joined us at a festive reception we hosted for local alumni, collectors, and friends.

Our senior curatorial team grew this year with the appointments of Lucinda Lax as Curator of Paintings and Sculpture and Timothy Young as Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts. Lucinda joined us in January 2023. She is already envisioning a new installation of our permanent collection, which will go on view when the museum reopens in fall 2024. Tim was appointed in spring 2023 and will join us at the start of the next fiscal year; we look forward to his fresh approach to engaging all our audiences with our collection of rare books and manuscripts.

Along with our colleagues from other Yale libraries and museums, we were thrilled to celebrate the launch of LUX. This new discovery platform allows students, researchers, and curious members of the public to find and connect objects across Yale’s cultural heritage collections. More than 128,000 records from the YCBA’s online catalog have already been added. I encourage you to explore this fascinating tool at lux.collections.yale.edu.

Our temporary closure has brought new opportunities for collaboration with our neighbors at Yale, in New Haven, and across the country. Partnerships with the Yale University Art Gallery and SITE Santa Fe are highlighted in this report. Visit our website for details of an exciting collaboration with the Yale School of Architecture and other upcoming events. We resumed our Visiting Scholars program with renewed energy and expanded scope, offering research residency awards to artists as well as academics. Our inaugural resident artist, Amie Siegel, visited the museum in the winter to photograph paintings and works on paper by George Stubbs. Siegel’s new work inspired by Stubbs will be featured in a future exhibition.

At the start of the academic year, we reshaped the museum’s Advisory Committee to include alumni, artists, and art professionals in addition to New Haven community members and Yale colleagues. I am grateful for the dedication, guidance, and insight of committee members past and present.

Special congratulations are due to committee member and colleague Mark Hallett, who recently completed more than a decade of visionary leadership as Director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art (PMC), our partner institution in London. I look forward to seeing all that he achieves in his new role as the Märit Rausing Director of the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Earlier this year, my colleagues and I mourned the loss of Thomas (Tom) Gallagher, former security officer; Duncan Robinson, former director of the museum; and Frederick (Ted) A. Terry, who was a trusted counselor to Paul Mellon and co-executor of his estate. As we write the next chapter in the history of the YCBA, we remember their dedication to the museum and Mr. Mellon’s legacy with deep gratitude.

I am thankful for the legacy of our founder as well as the other individuals and organizations whose support made possible the activities, initiatives, and programs outlined in this report. Their generosity, which sustained us through the challenges of the pandemic, will carry us into a new period of transformation.

—Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director, Yale Center for British Art

By the Numbers

This report reflects activities between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

  • 203days open to the public through February 26

  • 43,847visitors to the museum through February 26

  • 129objects loaned to other museums

  • 1,102Yale College Council reception attendees

  • 747Community Day attendees

  • 1.6 millionpage views of the YCBA website

  • 833attendees of in-person programs and lectures

  • 3,739attendees of online programs and lectures

  • 53countries from which people attended online programs



Each year the museum adds to its collections of drawings, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, prints, rare books, and sculpture through gifts and purchases. Below are highlights from the year ending June 30, 2023.

  • Abstract sculpture on plywood table

    Phyllida Barlow, untitled: holesstack, 2011, plywood base, cement, steel mesh, scrim, and paint, gift of Judi Roaman and Carla Chammas © Phyllida Barlow, courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Alex Delfanne

  • Painting of young man

    Albert Huie, Dorrell (detail), 1942, oil on canvas, Friends of British Art Fund © Estate of the artist

  • Tapestry with village scene

    Jagdeep Raina, The Great Divide (Beautiful Zameen) (detail), 2022, embroidered tapestry, phulkari border, Friends of British Art Fund © Jagdeep Raina

  • Faint photograph of lace

    Plate 20 from William Henry Fox Talbot, The Pencil of Nature, part 5 (London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1844), salted paper print, Paul Mellon Fund

  • Watercolor painting of traveling palanquin

    Artist once known, Travelling Palanquins (detail), ca. 1800, watercolor, gouache, and pen and black ink on paper, gift of Robert Storr in memory of Richard J. Storr

  • Two transparent panels leaning against concrete wall

    Rachel Whiteread, Untitled, 2018, resin (two units), gift of Eva and Glenn Dubin © The artist

  • Watercolor of harbor scene

    William Daniell, Quay at Straddon Point near Plymouth (detail), 1825, etching and aquatint with hand-coloring in watercolor on paper, gift of Robert Storr in honor of Amy Meyers

  • Gold reflective wall-mounted sculpture

    Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 2010, fiberglass, nickel, and gold plate, gift of Adam R. Rose, Class of 1981, and Peter R. McQuillan © Anish Kapoor. All Rights Reserved, DACS, London/ARS, NY 2023

  • Organic black-and-white drawing

    Vanessa Bell, design for dust jacket of Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf (detail), ca. 1941, pen and black ink and graphite, bequest of Lucia Woods Lindley © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London



This year featured a rich selection of programs, including artist conversations, gallery talks, symposia, and tours. The museum resumed in-person programming while also maintaining a full slate of online programs. More than 4,500 people from 53 countries attended YCBA programs online or in person.

  • Color photograph of man in fur collar

    Critic Hilton Als spoke with Martina Droth, Deputy Director and Chief Curator. Photo by Ali Smith

  • Black-and-white photograph of woman with glasses

    Artist Anthea Hamilton spoke with Sally Tallant, President and Executive Director, Queens Museum, New York. Photo by Adama Jalloh

  • Color photograph of woman with large earrings

    Author Elizabeth Alexander (Yale BA 1984) spoke with artists Jordan Casteel (Yale MFA 2014) and Glenn Ligon, whose work is featured in her recent book, The Trayvon Generation. The conversation was moderated by Courtney J. Martin (Yale PhD 2009), Paul Mellon Director. Photo by Djeneba Aduayom

  • Black-and-white photograph of man with beard

    Architect Peter Zumthor spoke with architects Billie Tsien (Yale BA 1971) and Tod Williams. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

  • Color photograph of woman seated in chair

    Artist Katy Moran spoke with Carmen Juliá, Curator, Spike Island Art Centre, Bristol. Photo by Adrian Lourie

  • Black-and-white photograph of man with dreadlocks

    Architect Walter Hood spoke with Sean Anderson, Director of the BArch Program, Cornell University. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe

  • Color photograph of man with stubble

    Artist Shezad Dawood spoke with Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery, London. Photo by Sue Parkhill

  • Black-and-white photograph of woman in black sweater

    Jenny Saville spoke with Skarlet Smatana, Director of the George Economou Collection, Athens, Greece. Photo by A. Saville

  • Color photograph of woman in paint smock

    Celia Paul spoke with Rachel Stratton, Postdoctoral Research Associate. Photo by Alice Mann



Staff, students, and volunteers enriched the museum through their dedication, enthusiasm, and skill. We are truly grateful for all their contributions.