Marc Mayer to leave the National Gallery when his term expires

Marc Mayer. Photo courtesy of the National Gallery of Canada

The head of the National Gallery will leave his post when his term expires. Marc Mayer will have served 10 years in the prestigious job. A final date has not been announced but it is expected to happen early in the new year, a gallery official says.

The news that Mayer is leaving comes as a controversy has erupted over the sale of a painting by Marc Chagall in a bid to raise the fund to purchase another work of art that the Gallery says should remain in Canada.

Mayer’s tenure has seen a number of developments including the creation of the Canadian Photography Institute; the creation of the Canadian and Indigenous galleries inside Moshe Safdie’s building and the placement of art outside the gallery including the purchase of Roxy Paine’s One Hundred Foot Line and other works.

The leadership of the National Gallery will change considerably as Mayer will follow deputy director and chief curator Paul Lang out the door. Lang left for his new job in Strasbourg France on April 1. As of yet Mayer has no plans after he departs, the gallery says.

Mayer  was born in Sudbury, Ontario. he was appointed to his post at the National Gallery Dec. 8, 2008.

Before that he was the director of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal for four years from 2004 to 2008 and th influential Toronto gallery The Power Plant from 1998 to 2001. He was the deputy director at the Brooklyn Museum from 2001 to 2004 and curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

In Paris he was head of visual arts with the Cultural Services of the Canadian Embassy and was a correspondent for the New York arts periodical Rizzoli’s The Journal of Art. He began his career at the 49th Parallel Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art in New York in the 1980s.

He is not the only CEO of a major arts institution in Ottawa stepping down. The National Arts Centre’s Peter Herrndorf will leave his job in June.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.