Susan Sayre Batton has been announced as the new executive director of the San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, California. Batton has served as the museum’s deputy director for curatorial affairs since October 2015 and as interim director since February 1.
Hildy Shandell, president of SJMA’s board of trustees, said of the appointment: “On behalf of the board I am thrilled that Susan Sayre Batton is taking on the new role as SJMA’s new director . . . She will be a dynamic leader for our energetic curators, excellent exhibitions team, and talented staff. We look forward to working together on the museum’s new strategic plan and are confident she will lead SJMA to continued and greater success in the coming years.”
As liaison to SJMA’s acquisitions committee, Batton has, during her tenure at the museum, co-acquired—along with the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago—Hito Steyerl’s Factory of the Sun, 2015, and Won Ju Lim’s expansive installation California Dreamin’, 2002. Before joining the museum’s staff, she served as managing director of Dia:Beacon, from 2010 to 2015. From 2012 to 2015, she was also the director of administration for the Dia Art Foundation, where she led their Utah partnership for the stewardship of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970, which recently became an official state artwork.
Previously, Batton directed “Modern Views,” an exhibition and publication project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation at Philip Johnson’s Glass House. From 2005 to 2008, she was deputy director at the Honolulu Museum of Art. She has also worked as a consultant to several museums, including the Hammer Museum in LA and the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.
Batton received a bachelor’s degree in studio art with a minor in art history from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and undertook postgraduate work at Princeton University, where she was a Mellon Fellow. Thereafter, she was a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From 1995 to 2005, Batton directed a private practice in Los Angeles and provided art conservation and exhibitions-management consulting services to museums, collections, and art organizations, as well as public-arts advocacy for the Community Redevelopment Agency’s Hollywood Arts and Design Advisory Panel.