Long-time Vancouver Art Gallery senior curator-historical Ian M. Thom has announced his retirement.
After 30 years with the institution, the renowned Emily Carr scholar will leave his position at the end of June 2018.
Among Thom's best-known curating credits are the 2006 travelling exhibition Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon, 2002's EJ Hughes, 2005's Takao Tanabe retrospective, and 2018's Gordon Smith: The Black Paintings, as well as the big show during the 2010 Winter Olympics, Leonardo Da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man.
Thom also played a major role in the growth of the VAG's permanent collection, including helping to secure the entry of 119 works by the Group of Seven members and 32 historical Indigenous objects and contemporary Indigenous works. He worked closely with the late collector Ron Longstaffe, who donated close to 800 works to the gallery before his death in 2003.
Thom has contributed to seventy eight publications, and has authored 13 books, including 2009's Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast, 2000's Art BC: Masterworks from British Columbia, and 1995's Andy Warhol: Images.
Thom was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2008 and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
“With a breadth of knowledge of Canadian historical art that is unmatched in the country, Ian has played a pivotal role in developing the Gallery’s permanent collection and bringing these works to new light before the public. His dedication as a historian, lecturer, writer and curator has been invaluable to the Gallery and has had a lasting impact on the Canadian visual art landscape,” VAG director Kathleen Bartels said in a press statement today. “We congratulate Ian on his retirement and look forward to continuing to work with him on special projects and research.”
“I am tremendously proud to have been a part of this renowned institution as a member of the talented curatorial team. Looking back on the exhibitions of the last thirty years, it has been an honour to highlight significant artists by putting their works in front of new audiences and adding to wider interest in visual art,” Thom stated in the announcement.