After a yearlong search, the Vancouver Art Gallery has finally announced Anthony Kiendl as its new CEO and director.
Kiendl comes here from Regina's Mackenzie Art Gallery, where he's executive director and CEO. He begins his tenure in mid-August.
Born in New York and raised in Winnipeg, Kiendl has more than 25 years experience across arts administration, curation, writing, and education. He studied at Concordia University and the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Kiendl served as director of visual arts at the Banff Centre and curator at Regina's Dunlop Gallery, before helming Winnipeg's Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art from 2006 to 2013; while there, he led the capital development and construction of a new facility for arts and education.
He has curated, published, and lectured internationally, and has helped to organize panel presentations for the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, and Art Brussels, among others. He's been steering the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Saskatchewan since 2014.
Kiendl has connections to the gallery here, including cocurating Komar and Melamid: Canada’s Most Wanted and Most Unwanted Paintings with the VAG's Bruce Grenville.
In 2009, he received the Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art.
Kiendl is taking over from Daina Augaitis, who has served as interim director since May 2019, after long-time director Kathleen Bartels left the institution. Bartels has since taken a position at the helm of Toronto's Museum of Contemporary Art.
The gallery has focused on a major campaign to move into a purpose-built new building downtown, but pandemic times will require his immediate focus. The gallery reopened its doors on June 15 after a three-month closure.
“I am particularly excited about plans for an incredible new gallery and working with government and community stakeholders to move this shovel-ready project forward," Kiendl said of the building project. "Our new gallery will be an accessible, cultural hub where ideas are shared by everyone, but it will also demonstrate the importance that our institution can have in helping to support economic growth.”
Artist and educator Dana Claxton and gallery trustee/artist Hank Bull are among the names that served on the search committee.
“After an extensive international search, the Board is unanimous in its support of Anthony Kiendl as the new CEO and Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery,” said the VAG's chair of the board of trustees, David Calabrigo, who also took part in the search. “Anthony’s ability to work collaboratively, to be an agent of change and to build organizations strategically will ensure the Gallery’s continued success in its mission to connect, inspire and empower British Columbians and visitors from across Canada and around the world through art. I know how focused he is on continuing and building the Gallery’s commitment to Indigenous art and artists, profiling the activities of the Institute of Asian Art, and furthering its local, national and international reputation.”