Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Contemporary Art, AGO
DEPARTMENT: Curatorial Affairs
REPORTS TO: Deputy Director & Chief Curator, Curatorial Affairs
WORK SUPERVISOR TO: Associate Curator, Contemporary Art
Associate Curator, Modern Art
SUMMARY OF FUNCTION
Inspires, engages, trains, develops, and holds their team accountable for their work performance and delivery on Curatorial goals aligned to the AGO’s vision, mission, and values. Understands and thoughtfully interprets policies, procedures, practices, collective agreements, and employment legislation to ensure their team works inclusively, safely, and securely and is valued for their diverse skillsets, backgrounds, and approaches.
Leads and directs the activities of the modern & contemporary curatorial function including exhibition development, programming, and collection building to contribute to the achievement of AGO’s strategic goals as a leading presenter of the art of our time. Through their curatorial responsibilities, understands and practically implements the AGO’s vision of leading global conversations from Toronto and reflecting the people who live here.
Plans, builds, and presents the permanent collection of modern & contemporary art; creates, organizes, and executes major exhibitions; interprets works of art in meaningful, relevant ways for the AGO’s audiences; identifies and researches significant tendencies, issues, and opportunities in the visual arts and fosters a public understanding of art as a vital social and cultural force.
Partners with colleagues and teams across the AGO, including Marketing, Exhibitions & Collections, Public Programming & Learning, and Development to achieve shared and measurable objectives and goals in a collaborative, inclusive, and accountable way.
Directs a team of curatorial employees in their development and execution of innovative, substantive, relevant projects and functions; understands, demonstrates and fosters an integrated thinking, collaborative approach with their team and with internal and external stakeholders.
Curatorial Leadership 50%
1. Leads creative concept and planning processes with curatorial staff and colleagues (internal and external to the AGO) to develop annual and long-range contemporary & modern exhibition programming and presentation of the collection in the context of the AGO’s strategic plan and overall programming goals.
2. Creates, organizes, and delivers exhibitions and publications of contemporary & modern art. Serves as Curator-in-charge of selected exhibitions co-organized and hosted by the AGO.
3. Establishes linkages and engages with international colleagues to collaboratively develop projects, to place AGO-organized exhibitions in other institutions, and to identify exhibitions of possible interest to the AGO.
4. Plans, establishes, and enhances standards of excellence in the contemporary & modern curatorial department by increasing capabilities in collection building, conservation care, research and publishing, and interpretive programming.
5. Clearly articulates the scope and focus for the contemporary & modern collections through gift and purchase. Conducts research on works of art to build the permanent collection. Oversees the preparation of all documentary material and justifications; identifies and vets works of art for presentation to the Curatorial Committee. Negotiates terms and conditions, and perfects gifts and acquisitions through the appropriate internal and external channels.
6. Collaborates with the Deputy Director & Chief Curator and respective Committee Chairpersons for contemporary & modern art to plan, facilitate, and execute effective committee meetings. Engages committee members in understanding the artistic and cultural significance of acquisitions and exhibitions as well as their roles as supporters of the Gallery’s artistic mission.
7. Takes a leadership role in all activities pertaining to contemporary & modern art for AGO donor groups such as Contemporary Circle; plans and conducts travel and special programs to enhance donors’ knowledge of, engagement with, and support for contemporary & modern art.
8. Liaises with government agencies and other cultural institutions (national and international) in matters relating to funding, partnerships, joint ventures, loans, etc.
Pan-Gallery Collaboration 25%
9. Together with the Deputy Director & Chief Curator, creates and develops contemporary & modern programming initiatives to ensure the appropriate balance of temporary exhibitions (AGO-originated and travelling), permanent collection presentations, publications, and related programs.
10. Fosters and demonstrates collaboration with appropriate Gallery staff throughout each stage in the exhibition development process, including fundraising, marketing, interpretive planning, design, production, and installation.
11. Promotes collaboration with colleagues in Public Programming and Learning to jointly create interpretation for exhibitions and collection and to shape integrated contemporary & modern programming.
12. Communicates directly with Trustees, members, staff, volunteers, the media, and the public on collection initiatives, exhibitions, publications, and other aspects of the AGO’s artistic program through print and digital media, membership events, public presentations, and internal communications.
13. Represents the AGO at local, national, and international art world events and public functions including conferences and openings.
14. Provides expert advice on contemporary & modern art to a broad range of stakeholders including Committees, AGO donors, collectors, other institutions, etc.
15. Performs other duties as assigned.
Management Responsibilities (as a subset of all other responsibilities) 25%
• Directs and supervises the work of curators and curatorial staff in the contemporary & modern department. Responsibilities include hiring, setting overall objectives, assigning and monitoring work, managing and evaluating work performance.
• Manages and provides leadership to department staff including objective setting and evaluation, training and development, and administrative and financial reporting.
Budgets and Cost Effectiveness
• Develops annual resource needs and budgets for the department. Plans department and project budgets and manages resources within approved budget parameters. Demonstrates commitment to cost-effective solutions for all Gallery programs and functions.
• Collaborates with other Curatorial Affairs division members in developing and adhering to managerial and administrative routines to ensure coordinated cost-effective efforts; maintains shared understanding of programming and collecting goals and agreed achievement measures.
Grants and Contracts
• Directs curatorial staff in coordination of grant submissions for program funding including determining strategy, setting priorities, preparing detailed budgets, and support materials as required.
• Participates in drafting and review of exhibitions of modern & contemporary art contracts for AGO-originated touring. Reviews external contracts to determine Gallery’s ability to meet conditions and contractual obligations met.
RELEVANT QUALIFICATIONS, SKILLS, AND EXPERIENCE
• Advanced knowledge of art history including expertise in a specialized area(s) of contemporary & modern art
• 10 years of related museum experience in exhibition research and development and/or collection development
• Superior expertise in working collaboratively with teams to implement complex projects with contemporary & modern artists is key
• Proven track record in partnering with others across a museum(s) to establish a long-term, comprehensive vision for Contemporary Art
• Demonstrated experience in cultivating sustainable, relevant donor and stakeholder relationships aligned to the overall direction of a museum(s)
• Practical awareness of museum best practices and trends that engage audiences through art, collections, and exhibitions
• Flexibility to work changing schedule and to travel
• Excellent skills in relationship building, diplomacy, judgment, influence, and poise in interacting with all levels of an organization(s)
• Demonstrated ability to lead and inspire a team, as well as hold them accountable to deliver exceptional results with available resources and budget
• Proven capability to partner and collaborate well with artists, other teams, and internal and external stakeholders to accomplish goals
• Superior communication skills including examples of publishing relevant, reputable scholarly material on an area(s) of expertise
• Innovative, generative, and creative approach to developing ideas and solving problems in order to establish practical, implementable deliverables
• Evident experience in short- and long-term planning and delivery of complex initiatives, with clear capacity to be agile to meet changing audience needs
• Strong discretion and confidentiality skills including understanding how to build trust effectively with others
• Ability to collaborate and communicate across departments.
• Ability to motivate colleagues and co-workers.
• Pressure related to frequent and short deadlines.
• Conducting research and analysis.
• Management of multiple and competing priorities.
• Ongoing attention to detail, mental and visual concentration.
• Significant travel is required, occasionally in excess of 20 days per annum, global pandemics notwithstanding.
Please send applications or nominations to Sarah James at [email protected]