Patrick Moore to Resign as Warhol Museum Director

Patrick Moore will be resigning as director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, effective May 2024. In a statement today, March 15, Moore said his departure was due to his plans to move to Spain with his husband.

“I’m happy to be leaving on the high note of the museum’s 30th anniversary and the opening of my KAWS + Warhol exhibition the weekend of May 17,” Moore said. “And I look forward to continuing to collaborate with and support my many friends at The Warhol and Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.”

Moore joined the Warhol Museum as the director of development in 2011, and assumed other leading administrative roles at the museum before being appointed director in 2017. In 2021, Moore was invited by Arts AlUla to consider Saudi Arabia as a venue for Fame, an exhibition of Warhol’s works that eventually materialized in 2023. Moore, and the Warhol Museum by extension, garnered criticism for the show, which was regarded by some as an attempt to “artwash” Saudi Arabia’s grim human rights records under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Fame may well validate an authoritarian regime whose official policies and practices, especially those concerning sexual freedoms, are abhorrent,” wrote Hyperallergic contributor David Carrier in a January 2023 opinion.

Moore acknowledged the criticisms in an opinion piece on Artnet that year, noting that he stood by his decision to host the exhibition at AlUla after seeing how the Saudi youth interacted with the work, specifying that Warhol’s living relatives were involved in the exhibition, and that “international relations will shift for the better” through education and cultural exchange.

Under Moore’s directorship, in 2022, the Warhol Museum also launched the so-called Pop District — a development project to transform the six blocks surrounding the museum, converting the area into a cultural programming and tourism hub through public art and a new performance venue. As Pittsburgh’s NPR station 90.5 WESA reported, the project has allegedly driven various high-level employees away from the museum who were struggling with Moore’s leadership style, fewer exhibitions, and what they considered less attention on the visitor experience at the institution as well.

Moore’s resignation comes in the wake of controversy last month over a wall text referring to the “Middle East Conflict” that accompanied a temporary display of Warhol portraits of Jewish historical figures, as well as the ambiguous departure of former Chief Curator Aaron Levi Garvey, which the museum has not yet addressed. When asked about Levi Garvey’s role last month, a spokesperson said the museum could not comment on “the employment status of individuals.”

In a press release, the Warhol Museum confirmed that Deputy Director Rachel Baron-Horn will serve as interim director while Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh conducts an international search for a successor.

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