Image: Kerry Brougher
takes over as the new head of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum on July
1. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Academy Museum's Kerry Brougher gets to merge interests in art, film
will step into his
new role as director of the future Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences museum on July 1.
Slated to open in 2017, the Academy Museum
carries with it the high ambitions of academy members, big-ticket Hollywood industry donors and serious film scholars.
, currently the interim director of the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum
and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., the job marks the convergence of two tracks of interest in art and film that he
first discovered while watching Universal monster movies on TV as a child in Garden Grove - or, as Brougher
put it, "a suburb of Disneyland."
"From watching 'Frankenstein' and 'Bride of Frankenstein' I became interested in German Expressionism, shadow and light," Brougher
told The Times in a recent interview on the site of the future museum, at the historic May Co. building next door to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
"I understood that the score they were using for 'Dracula' was actually Tchaikovsky.
My whole world just expanded outwards from this moment when I was very young, watching these late Friday night shows."
A curator at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art
from its opening in 1983 to 1997, and then the director of the Modern Art Oxford museum
in England, Brougher
, 61, brings with him both art world bona fides and film world taste.
curated the show "Hall of Mirrors: Art and Film Since 1945," an exhibition that featured works by popular directors like Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick, as well as experimental work by filmmakers like Stan Brakhage and Michael Snow; at Oxford, he
programmed a show about Alfred Hitchcock; and at the Hirshhorn he
organized a 2008 exhibition called "The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image," which featured works by Steve McQueen, the English artist who would go on to direct this year's best picture winner, "12 Years a Slave."
That Brougher combines the administrative know-how to run a museum with a cinéaste's sensibilities was a large part of his appeal, according to academy Chief Executive Dawn Hudson.
could talk with our editing branch governor about [Russian film director] Sergei Eisenstein's theory of editing, and then he
knows where to put the loading dock.
Those are unusual qualities to combine in one person."
will need to serve a broad array of museum visitors, from film buffs to casual travelers.
"For the scholars we'll be doing hopefully very high-level exhibitions," Brougher
The academy's search for a museum director took more than a year, as a committee headed up by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy solicited referrals from 400 people in 13 countries before naming Brougher in April, Hudson said.