The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art board of trustees announced Zoe Kahr as the institution’s next director beginning on November 1. Kahr will leave the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), where she has served as deputy director in charge of curatorial and planning since 2010. In her new role, Kahr will oversee the museum’s move from its longtime home in the city’s Overton Park neighborhood to its brand-new $150 million downtown waterfront digs, designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
“I’m joining the Brooks Museum and the greater Memphis arts community at a uniquely thrilling time,” acknowledged Kahr. Citing the city’s widely recognized cultural history, she noted that “its importance as an arts capital will only grow as the plans for the future of the Brooks Museum move forward. I am honored to lead the museum through this time of tremendous transformation.”
During her tenure at LACMA, Kahr produced roughly three hundred exhibitions and forged partnerships with arts institutions in Asia, Australia, Latin America, and the Middle East. She inaugurated LACMA’s “Local Access” program, which brings art to broader audiences through touring shows at museums in the region, and oversaw the museum’s DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility) initiative. Prior to her arrival at the Los Angeles museum, Kahr served as assistant director of exhibition planning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She holds a doctorate of philosophy from University College London; Kahr earlier earned a master’s in business administration and a BA in art history from Yale University.
“From our first meeting with Zoe, it was clear that she was the perfect person for this role: eminently qualified, universally well-regarded among her peers, and excited to lead our museum forward,” said Brooks Museum board chair Carl Person. “Kahr’s deep curatorial experience, global perspective, and managerial acumen make her ideally suited for this position, and on behalf of the entire Memphis arts community, I look forward to welcoming her to the Brooks Museum.”
Kahr succeeds Emily Ballew Neff, who announced her departure from the role in 2021 and shortly thereafter took up the position of director of the San Antonio Museum of Art. Mark Resnick, the museum’s deputy director and chief operating officer, will continue as acting executive director in the interim preceding Kahr’s November arrival.