Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, who serves as director of the Sydney Australian Museum of Contemporary Art, has resigned after twenty-two years of work. He said he would leave the institution in October, two months before the expiration of his last five-year contract, in December, to facilitate a smooth transition for his successor as the museum celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.
A tireless advocate for Australian art, Macgregor is famously credited with leading the institution from near-bankruptcy to becoming the world’s most visited museum of contemporary art. Welcoming less than a hundred thousand visitors annually upon arrival, the museum before the Covid-19 outbreak hosted more than one million visitors per year, half of whom were under thirty-five years of age. Among his many accomplishments were the elimination of entry fees, the establishment of a National Center for Creative Learning, the massive expansion of the museum premises, and the launch of a joint acquisition program with Tate London. As a strong fundraiser, he is stepping up the museum’s philanthropic efforts to the point that donations to institutions in 2020, as the coronavirus destroyed his program, five times the previous year.
“Liz Ann is a visionary,” said MCA chairman Liz Tarabay in a statement, noting that under Macgregor the museum built an important collection of contemporary Australian art with strong representations by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. “Although we are very disappointed” at his departure, Tarabay said, “we understand and respect his decision and are grateful for his enormous contribution to not only the MCA but also contemporary art in Australia.”
Macgregor, who says he doesn’t want another “big job,” plans to return to his native Scotland before deciding on his next move. “To be honest, I really wanted to go and spend time with my mother,” he said Security, “And that’s not a euphemism.”
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