Keynote Speaker

Adam Lerner

Adam Lerner is the Mark G. Falcone “MaFa” Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. He has curated dozens of exhibitions and projects with contemporary artists such as Barnaby Furnas, Liam Gillick, and Christian Marclay and also showcased the non-traditional talents of mixologists, astrobiologists, shamans, and pigeoneers. He authored the book and curated the major retrospective Mark Mothersbaugh: Myopia, the first comprehensive look at the polymath co-founder of the band DEVO. He also co-organized the traveling exhibition and book West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-1977. He curated the exhibition Orphan Paintings, the inspiration for his book From Russia With Doubt: The Quest to Authenticate 181 Would-be Masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde.

Adopting a unique approach to museum programming that combines curatorial, education and artistic production, Lerner’s innovative programs have been adopted by museums throughout North America and celebrated by leaders in the field and the general media. A 2011 article in the New York Times stated that Lerner’s work to engage audiences is “reshaping what has become a stale model for a contemporary art museum” and in 2016, the Andrew W. Mellon foundation funded a 3-year program enabling 14 museum professionals from around the United States to come to Denver and learn from him and his team. From 2004 to 2009, Lerner directed The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar (The Lab), an organization he founded to explore the changing nature of art and museums. Formerly, he was the Master Teacher for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Denver Art Museum and the curator of the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore. He received his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University and his Masters from Cambridge University. He is a member of the Hertz #1 Gold Club.