ARTperspective

The Art Perspective blog is a collection of thoughts, musings, and reflections on art, artists, and current happenings in the art world. 

10 Female Curators & Dealers to Watch in 2016

There is no shortage of influential females making their mark on the art world. Here are ten curators and dealers that are worth watching in 2016.

Kelly Baum, Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)
Fresh from her role at Princeton University's Art Museum, Baum joined the stellar team at the Met as Curator of postwar and contemporary art. She has been quick to establish herself collaborating with her colleagues and fellow curators to launch 2 highly successful shows in her short tenure. As she approaches her one year anniversary with the Met this June, watch for Baum to continue to be a key player.

Gwen Chanzit, Denver Art Museum (Denver)
As the Curator for modern art Chanzit is well versed in the Abstract Expressionists, but is using her influence to explore things from a female perspective. Her recent work is examining the unsung female artists who were a part of this movement but received far less credit for their work. Opening in June, her exhibition entitled 'Women of Abstract Expressionism' is one not to miss. 

Clara M. Kim, Tate Modern (London)
Kim has been one to watch for quite some time now. Her work curating October's spotlight section of the Frieze fair gave her an increased profile from her role as senior curator for the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, that is when she she was offered the senior curator role for international art by the Tate Modern - not a bad career move!

Stephanie Smith, Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto)
Since joining the AGO in 2014, Smith has been focused on making contemporary art an anchor for the museum. She has increased the museum's profile through international collaborations, while also remaining focused on local art and artists. Smith is one of the few Chief Curators who maintains an active curatorial practice. 

Kathleen S. Bartels, Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver)
Having led the gallery for more than 14 years it may be surprising to see Bartels name on this list, but her ongoing work to continually raise the profile of the gallery speaks for itself. With an annual operating budget of over 17 million, and an endowment fund she grew from $200,000 to nearly 11 million today, it is clear Bartels has a clear mission, and she isn't finished. Her crusade for a new gallery building began in 2008, and will culminate with a new building designed by renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron opening in 2021. After receiving approval from city council in 2013 for their new site location, Bartels unveiled the new design last fall.

Catriona Jeffries, Catriona Jeffries Gallery (Vancouver)
She was the first gallery owner to set up shop in Vancouver's east end of the Flats. The largely industrial area was far from the existing gallery area at the time, but had an abundance of warehouse space, and affordable rent, two things that are a rare commodity in the city. She continues to pioneer new ideas and exhibitions, and is now being joined by numerous other galleries who have jumped ship at their previous locales, to join her in the Flats. Jeffries has always been a leader when it comes to being ahead of the curve, expect this year to be no different.

Angela Bugera Matheson, Bugera Matheson Gallery (Edmonton)
After acquiring the gallery from her mother Agnes in 2012, Angela had a new vision for the business that was started in 1992. First was a new gallery space, aligning nicely with a newly established gallery district in the city, the second was curating a roster of artists to reflect the type of gallery she wanted to run. 4 years later and it is clear that this is no longer her mother's gallery. She continues to search for ways to collaborate and diversify, connecting with new audiences and cultivating new relationships with collectors. Her partnership with Art Perspective only further proves her ability to recognize when to bring in external expertise to benefit the gallery, its artists and collectors.

Sarah Bjorn, The Toronto Gallery of Calgary (Calgary)
Located in historic Bridgeland in Calgary, the gallery building took months to restore, finally opening in October 2014. Bjorn who was born in Calgary, met her partner in the gallery, Liam Neason, while they were graduate students abroad. Bjorn pursued her MFA at Goldsmiths in London, returning in the spring of 2014 to be closer to family. This female driven project between Bjorn and Neason highlights a new wave of younger, forward thinking curators in the Canadian market. 

Sandra Guimarares, Remai Modern (Saskatoon)
After an exhaustive six month international search, the Remai Modern named Guimarares it's Chief Curator. Guimarares has worked internationally with artists and curators and has an impressive list of collaborations and exhibitions to her credit. As the Remai Modern gears up for it's grand opening next year, all eyes will be on Guimarares, and expectations will be high. Judging from her previous track record, she should be ready to take it all in stride.

Rose Bouthillier, Remai Modern (Saskatoon)
With only a few days in her new role as Curator (Exhibitions) for Remai Modern, Bouthillier has a tremendous job ahead of her as the gallery looks to open it's doors next spring. Most recently Bouthillier was the Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Cleveland, a position she held for the last 4 years. Bouthillier's return to Canada is great news for the new gallery, as her work south of border has been incredibly impressive. She will be one to watch, not only this year, but in the years to come as well. 

Behind the Canvas: Preview of the Remai Modern

Following the tremendous impact the Art Gallery of Alberta had on Edmonton's downtown revitalization, it should be no surprise that one province over in Saskatchewan, a quiet but monumental change was happening to the arts scene in Edmonton's sister city, Saskatoon. On the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River, located at River Landing, the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan is set to open in 2017. Originally scheduled for 2016, the 11,582 square-metre public art museum boasts award winning architecture designed by the Canadian firm KPMB (Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna & Blumberg).

Recognizing an opportunity, lead patron, Ellen Remai donated $30 million to kick start the project. She also ensured the permanent collection of the gallery would sustain for years to come, by donating the most comprehensive collection of Picasso linocuts known in the world, and valued at an estimated $20 million. Such philanthropic gifts rarely go unmatched, and so Saskatchewan born, London, UK based art dealer and print-making specialist Dr. Frederick Mulder donated an additional 23 Picasso ceramics, also valued at nearly $20 million.

The generous donations aside, the vision and design of the gallery would surely have been enough to launch Saskatoon as venerable player in the Canadian art scene, but they did not stop there. Enter Gregory Burke as the director and new CEO for the project. Those unfamiliar with Burke's work as a curator needn't look far. Burke has worked across Canada and as far as New Zealand curating over 90 world class shows and publishing over 100 texts on contemporary art. To say the new Remai Modern is in good hands with its leadership would be an understatement.

With all of this excitement does come some disappointment for those more acquainted with the Mendel Art Gallery and its founder Frederick Salomon Mendel and his family. The Mendel Art Gallery was founded in 1964, and its collection of over 7,700 artworks will find a home as part of the permanent collection of the Remai Modern. Additionally, one of the galleries in the new building will be named in honour of the Mendel as well as a potential international lecture series. 

It is a season of change in Saskatoon, as the community will be without the Mendel and without the new Remai under early 2017. CEO, Burke has been quoted saying that the time will be used to develop new programs, assess potential membership options, and prepare for the opening. Expectations are certainly high, after the opening of the AGA in Edmonton, the gallery saw an influx of patrons in the tens of thousands. Those numbers have tapered off over the months and years the gallery has been open, but it remains an iconic piece of architecture in a city not known for its design. Similarly in Saskatoon, the Remai is sure to join the status of the Bessborough hotel as part of the city's growing history and unique architecture.

 

 

Vancouver Art Gallery: Why It's Time

Every city reaches a point when rejuvenation of key elements, landmarks, or attractions must be undertaken to reinvigorate the city, to breathe new life into arts and cultural institutions. Such was the case in Edmonton, with the Art Gallery of Alberta. The original building was built in 1968, and after a design competition that saw Randall Stout Architects from Los Angeles win, the city opened the new gallery in 2010, to increased subscriptions and over 30,000 visitors in the first six weeks. This signalled a significant design shift in a previously stagnated city, once the Art Gallery of Alberta was opened, other projects started in development, five years later Edmonton's downtown core is almost unrecognizable as new design projects for an arena, new museum, entertainment district, hotels, restaurants and condos are all underway. Similarly a province over, Saskatoon is set to open it's new gallery the Remai Modern in 2016. Saskatoon and Edmonton share many similarities, both being river cities, both experiencing strong economies as well as cultural revolutions as a renewed focus is placed on the development and promotion of arts and culture in both cities.

Some may argue that Vancouver doesn't need a kick start like Edmonton or Saskatoon did; the city is filled with glass condo towers, new projects are a regular occurrence and Nordstrom's flagship opening speaks to a strong retail commitment. Vancouver needs this new Art Gallery space, not to kick start development, but to kick start culture. In a city as culturally diverse as Vancouver, it has kind of lost it's soul. Sold out to foreign investors who have never stepped foot, visitors who shop at world class boutiques like Dior, Chanel and Hermes - but what about the art? What is inspiring the next young generation in one of the best cities in the world?

Herzog de Meuron has for decades been an undisputed champion of revitalization projects. From the Tate Modern, to the Arts Center in Minneapolis and the Elbe Philharmonic building in Hamburg, they understand design and function in a way that invigorates and excites. Heck, they even took retail to a new level in Tokyo with the design of Prada's boutique. And so too will their design bring function and form to Vancouver's downtown core. In amongst the glass towers, their new design for the Vancouver Art Gallery pulls organic design elements, allowing flow and integration with the surrounding area, inviting busy pedestrians, and business folk alike to wander through, to sit, to experience something different.

Whether or not you like the design is irrelevant, Herzog de Meuron know what they're doing and they do it incredibly well. We are about to see another city transformed around a cultural iconic design. The people and visitors in Vancouver don't need another glass tower, they need a place to engage with art, a place that reflects the incredible surroundings of the city. A place that brings people together and challenges while it informs.