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Academy Museum Director Kerry Brougher Exits the Long-Postponed Project

The Academy Museum, which recently pushed its Los Angeles debut to 2020, also saw the exit of a key lieutenant in April.

Academy Museum

An official rendering of the Academy’s 1,000-seat theater.

The long-in-the-works Academy Museum, which just postponed its Los Angeles debut date to 2020, has hit another snag. Kerry Brougher, who served as museum director for the past five years, is exiting his post. Brougher has been named as the museum’s founding director and will collaborate with senior staff in the transition.

“We thank Kerry for his dedicated service on behalf of the Museum. His work over the last five years on the Museum’s construction and in-depth collections well positions us to move into the next phase of this ambitious project,” the Academy Museum Board said in a statement. “Kerry’s strong curatorial team will continue to work with us toward the Museum’s opening, and a search for a new Museum Director will begin shortly. Our primary goal remains to create the best possible motion picture museum for visitors.”

Brougher — who served as a curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles — is said to be returning to the art world.

After 90 years of planning by Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the costly Academy Museum is crawling to the finish line to the tune of $388 million and counting. Brougher’s exit falls on the heels of the departure of his lieutenant Deborah Horowitz in April; she served as his lieutenant in the role of deputy director for creative content and programming, overseeing exhibitions. Construction for the site, located at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire boulevards in Los Angeles, remains underway. When originally announced in 2012, the museum planned to open in 2017.

“It has been a privilege for me to work with this Board, our donors, the great Renzo Piano, and all of my colleagues who have participated in creating this unique Museum,” said Brougher. “We are just weeks away from completing construction of the buildings, ending the first phase of this project, and our collection has grown substantially.”

He went on to say that “the Miyazaki and Regeneration exhibitions will be the first of their kind. I’m very proud of the work done by our amazing team. Now is the right time for me to pass the baton.”

It’s a busy week for Academy personnel as the organization gears up to elect a successor for current president John Bailey, who will term out after two years in the position. Current Academy officers David Rubin, governor of the casting branch and board secretary, and Lois Burwell, a governor of the makeup and hairstyling branch who also serves as first vice president of the Academy, are expected to vie for the post.

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