Academy Museum Director Exits Project as It Nears Completion (Exclusive)

Kerry Brougher, who has overseen the construction since 2014, is returning to the art world, although he will keep the honorary title of founding director.
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Kerry Brougher

Kerry Brougher, the director of the in-progress Academy Museum of Motion Pictures since 2014, is leaving the project, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The project has encountered a series of obstacles — it is running over-budget, its opening has been delayed several times and Brougher's top deputy, Deborah Horowitz, left the project in April. Now, as it nears its completion, the 66-year-old Brougher has decided to return to his roots in the art world.

"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," Brougher said in a statement. "We are just weeks away from completing construction of the buildings, ending the first phase of this project, and our collection has grown substantially. 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."

Brougher's curatorial team will see the project through to its finish. And the Museum's board of trustees, under chair Ron Meyer, has decided to give Brougher the honorary title "founding director."

The search for a new director will begin shortly.

"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 museum's 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's appointment was announced April 28, 2014. He previously served as curator and acting director of the Smithsonian's Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.; director of Oxford, England's Museum of Modern Art; and curator at Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Academy Museum, which is being constructed on the site of the old May Co. department store on the Miracle Mile, was first announced in 2012. It will be the realization of decades of discussion by the Academy.

In addition to Meyer, the Museum's board of trustees is comprised of several other industry heavyweights: vice chair Ted Sarandos, secretary Kimberly Stewart, treasurer Jason Blum, Diane von Furstenberg, Jim Gianopulos, Tom Hanks, Alejandro Ramirez Magana, Dominic Ng, Emma Thomas and Kevin Yeaman. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson is an ex officio member.