Adam Lerner appointed Executive Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum

Adam Lerner. Photo credit: From the hip photo

The Board of Trustees of the Palm Springs Art Museum on Wednesday announced the appointment of Adam lerner as the museum’s new CEO / CEO, JoAnn McGrath. Lerner will take up his new role on July 15, 2021. He previously served as Mark G. Falcone’s Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (MCA Denver) from 2009 to 2019.

“Adam is one of the art world’s most respected and imaginative curators and programmers,” says Jane emison, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Palm Springs Art Museum. “We are delighted to have someone of their unique talent and vision guide our museum. Adam’s proven track record of developing organizations and inspiring his supporters makes him an ideal candidate for our museum, which is poised for his next level of evolution as he grows with the vibrant community. from Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. I am particularly inspired by Adam’s reputation as an extraordinary mentor who cultivates talent among his staff.

Prior to becoming director of the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, Lerner was the founder and executive director of the Belmar Art and Ideas Lab until the lab merged with MCA Denver in March 2009. He has also was a master teacher in modern and contemporary art. at the Denver Art Museum from 2001 to 2003.

Prior to his arrival in Colorado, Lerner was curator of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore. Previously, he was a pre-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, specializing in 20th century American sculpture.

“I am honored to take the helm of the Palm Springs Art Museum as both the institution and the region are on track for tremendous growth,” said Lerner. “I look forward to building on the success of my predecessors and cultivating a vibrant and inclusive institution that is relevant not only to the art world, but also to all who live in the Coachella Valley.”

Executive Vice President Craig hartzman, who led the search committee for this position, said, “We are delighted that Adam is joining the Palm Springs Art Museum as the new Executive Director at this important time. The committee identified and assessed an impressive pool of candidates nationwide; Adam stood out as an outstanding museum professional, known for his many talents, including his creativity and innovative programming, his mentorship of staff and colleagues, and his very effective working relationships with members of the Board of Trustees. and the community. Adam’s wide range of knowledge and keen interest in contemporary popular culture will serve both the museum and the community very well.

At MCA Denver, Lerner developed an institution that combined scholarly exhibits with an inviting energy that attracted large audiences. Having taken over right after the completion of the new museum building, it has tripled attendance in ten years, doubled the operating budget and attracted large numbers of visitors thanks to strong public programming. Focusing on Mexican and Latin American art and culture, it has transformed the institution into one of the leading showcases for contemporary Mexican art among American museums. This dynamic mix of programming has helped cultivate the next generation of museum visitors, making unprecedented inroads with the previously under-represented audience of 25-34, who have become the museum’s largest demographic.

Under his leadership, MCA Denver gained a leadership role among its peers by producing groundbreaking exhibitions traveling to multiple venues, including an exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s early works that had never been exhibited in a museum before, and the first museum investigation exhibition by artist Senga Nengudi. MCA Denver has also developed a major retrospective of the career of Mark Mothersbaugh and co-produced the retrospective of Marilyn Minter, both of whom have traveled to art museums across the country. In addition to showcasing the work of emerging and established contemporary artists, Lerner has always featured unconventional art museum subjects, such as the early history of graffiti writing, Emory Douglas’ illustrations for the Black Panther newspaper and the daily shows of the 1970s theater group. les Coquettes.

Lerner and his life partner, Melissa Shelton, will be residing in Palms Springs from August.

For more information on Palm Springs Art Museum exhibits, programs and events, please visit or call (760) 322-4800.

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