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Executive Director of Contemporary Jewish Museum Steps Down After Less than Two Years

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Chad Coerver joined the CJM from SFMOMA in September 2021. (Photo by Gary Sexton Photography; courtesy of The Contemporary Jewish Museum)

The Contemporary Jewish Museum announced Executive Director Chad Coerver will step down from his role in mid-August after less than two years at the museum. Coerver joined the CJM in September 2021 from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he worked for 20 years, most recently as the chief education and community engagement officer.

Coerver’s tenure at the CJM began after the prolonged closure of the winter 2020–2021 season, when a rise in COVID-19 numbers re-shuttered most Bay Area cultural institutions. He succeeded Lori Starr in the role, who led the museum for over seven years and departed at the end of 2020.

Since Coerver assumed leadership, the museum has put on several exhibitions by contemporary Jewish artists, including its current Mika Rottenberg exhibiton, Gillian Laub: Family Matters and Cara Levine: To Survive I Need you to Survive

Kerry King, the CJM’s chief operating officer, will assume the role of interim executive director following Coerver’s departure and lead the search for his replacement.

“While we are sad to see Chad depart The CJM, we are thankful to him for the impact he has had on the museum during his tenure here,” King says in the museum’s press release. “Chad played a pivotal role in helping the museum move forward in the wake of the pandemic, and building a forward-thinking, collaborative culture among leadership and staff that we will carry with us.”


Coerver leaves the museum to serve as president of Working Assumptions, a Berkeley-based organization that challenges depictions of work, family and caregiving through art and education programs. One of the organization’s projects involved putting photographers in the workplace with visibly pregnant people to document their working days — and fill a gap in the visual culture.

In today’s announcement, Coerver said, “While it is bittersweet to leave the museum after two years, Working Assumptions aligns with areas I’ve been focused on my entire career and offers an opportunity I could not pass up. I am looking forward to helping shape that organization and engaging directly with social issues that resonate deeply with me.”

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