Patrick Moore, director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will step down from his position on May 31. He said the reason was he planned to relocate to Spain with his husband.

Moore has been director of the Warhol Museum since 2017. He first joined the organization as its director of development before quickly being promoted to deputy director in September 2012. Prior to the Warhol Museum, Moore spent 10 years with the Alliance for the Arts in New York, where he was the creator and project director of the Estate Project.

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During Moore’s time as director, the institution proposed a $45 million expansion plan last year that would increase the institution’s footprint by more than 60 percent, as well as its $60 million “Pop District” initiative.

The 10-year Pop District initiative would span five blocks around the museum in Pittsburgh’s North Shore and would include a “public art initiative, a youth-focused, creative economy workforce program, flagship live event & performance venue.”

The Pop District in particular has proven particularly controversial among staff at the museum, according to WESA, Pittsburgh’s local NPR station. “The museum has been taken over by the alien that is the Pop District,” one unnamed employee told WESA in a report that ran this past December.

That report also noted that Moore’s management style had spurred staff members to depart. According to WESA, “most of [the museum’s] highest-ranking staff” had left amid the Pop District plan, reportedly because of their lack of involvement in it.

Moore denied this, telling WESA, “The entire senior staff of the museum has been involved with the Pop District from day one.”

A separate controversy has plagued the museum in the past month. In February, Hyperallergic reported that staff at the museum had criticized a label that referred to the October 7 Hamas attack as “the start of the Middle East conflict.” That text, which was authored by Moore and chief curator Aaron Levi Garvey, did not mention Israel’s war in Gaza. But by the time the controversy transcended the museum, making it into the local press after the Instagram account Change the Museum posted about the label, it appeared that Levi Garvey had left the institution, with his LinkedIn page suggesting that he no longer held that position, according to the Pittsburgh City Paper.

There had also been scrutiny over a 2023 exhibition of Warhol’s work that the museum organized in Saudi Arabia. Pittsburgh Independent reported in 2022 that Moore and the Warhol Museum failed to disclose that the institution had received a fee for doing the show.

“My 13 years at The Warhol have been the most formative of my life, and I’m so grateful for having been given this opportunity,” Moore said in a press statement released by the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh on March 14. “After having had a sabbatical in 2023 where my husband and I were able to spend three months at our home in Spain, I have decided our future is there, in his home country.”

Moore said he was happy to be leaving “on the high note of the museum’s 30th anniversary and the opening of my KAWS + Warhol exhibition.”

After May 31, Deputy director Rachel Baron-Horn will serve as interim director of the Warhol Museum while Carnegie Museums of PIttsburgh searches for Moore’s replacement.

News of Moore’s departure was first reported by Hyperallergic.