Adam Lerner, who has been the director and chief animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver since 2009, will step down next year. The museum’s board will form a committee to conduct an international search for the museum’s next leader.
Lerner said in a statement, “I took very seriously my decision not to renew my contract. For the past ten years, I have greatly enjoyed fostering the growth of a museum that now pulses with energy and captures the imagination of wide audiences. I am grateful to my board for entrusting me to reimagine what an art museum can be, but now I want to try my hand developing creative ventures from outside the platform of a museum.”
During Lerner’s tenure, the museum’s audience more than doubled. Under his leadership, the MCA Denver organized exhibitions featuring artists such as Marilyn Minter, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Senga Nengudi. Lerner helped restructure the approximately $10 million debt that he inherited when he assumed the directorship, and since 2016, the MCA has raised $17.5 million as part of a fundraising campaign to grow an endowment, remodel aspects of its building, and expand exhibitions and programming.
Mike Fries, MCA Denver’s board chair, said in a statement, “Adam has been instrumental not only in making MCA the heart of Denver’s cultural community, but also in rethinking the role of a traditional art institution by launching groundbreaking programs that are now mimicked around the country. We are grateful he plans to remain in Denver and know that both the MCA and our extended community will benefit from wherever his ideas take him next.”