WAG to Launch Search for New Curator of Contemporary Art
Winnipeg, MB, July 22, 2014: The Winnipeg Art Gallery announces it will launch a search for the Gallery’s next Curator of Contemporary Art this September. Effective August 22, Paul Butler, current Curator of Contemporary Art, is stepping down from his post to take on some new projects and focus on his artistic career. Butler, an artist and curator whose work has been exhibited at the WAG, across Canada, and internationally, joined the curatorial team in April 2013. His artwork was also featured in the Gallery’s centennial exhibition, Winnipeg Now, in 2012.
As a curator, Butler helped drive the NGC@WAG program, acting as the curatorial lead for Christian Marclay's The Clock, the Keith Haring intervention in the WAG’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden, and Ragnar Kjartansson’s The End--Rocky Mountains. Most recently, he organized solo exhibitions on Canadian artists: Micah Lexier: This, That, Those and Lynne Cohen: Between Something and Nothing, which opened just before Cohen’s death. One of the highlights of the WAG’s 2014 season was the exhibition Looking Up: Contemporary Connections with Inuit Art, which was also curated by Butler.
“Paul Butler’s tenure as Curator of Contemporary Art over the last year and a half has been an exciting time for the WAG and somewhat of a curatorial experiment,” states Director & CEO Dr. Stephen Borys. “As an individual primarily recognized for his artistic career rather than his curatorial work, this was a bold move by the WAG, and it brought new perspectives to our exhibition program and outreach. We’ll miss Paul’s regular presence at the Gallery but we understand his desire to get back into his studio; and we look forward to working with him on upcoming projects, particularly those connected to our contemporary Inuit art collection. This is also the perfect time for the next generation of contemporary curators to make its mark at the WAG, and we expect this opportunity will attract some outstanding candidates,” adds Borys.
With Looking Up: Contemporary Connections with Inuit Art, Butler partnered with eight local artists to explore the impact the Gallery's world-renowned Inuit art collection has had on their artistic production. This exhibition is a prequel to The Bridge, a larger project initiated by Butler to form an artistic exchange between the North and Winnipeg—taking Winnipeg artists north to work alongside Inuit artists, then bringing Inuit artists south to work collaboratively in Winnipeg. A joint project with the WAG, the idea of The Bridge is to use drawing and printmaking as a common language to create a platform where these two Canadian art communities can build connections.
“This evolution of my working relationship with the WAG will allow me to better balance my artistic and curatorial careers,” explains Paul Butler. “I want to thank Stephen Borys and the staff for their flexibility and support in both my curatorial and art practice. I am also grateful to the Winnipeg art community, and especially the artists I worked with over the past year and a half. I look forward to collaborating with the WAG on future projects, including The Bridge.”
In addition to his curatorial work at the WAG, Butler contributed to Nuit Blanche Winnipeg, last year facilitating Dean Baldwin's Rooftop Acropolis. He was a juror for the 2014 Hnatyshyn Foundation, and a member of the Curatorial Panel for the 2014 Sobey Art Award. “Butler’s network in the art world and his passion for community involvement brought increased exposure to the contemporary art agenda at the WAG,” states Chief Curator Helen Delacretaz, “and his ideas for exhibitions have taken the Gallery in new directions that we will continue to explore.”
Early this fall, the WAG will launch a search for a new Curator of Contemporary Art. This individual will come at a critical time for the WAG and Canada with the development of the national Inuit Art Centre and its related contemporary art programming. The curator will also be responsible for further expanding the Gallery’s collection of regional, national, and international contemporary art and its related exhibitions portfolio.
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