National Gallery appoints Kitty Scott chief curator

Kitty Scott was the curator who purchased Maman for the National Gallery of Canada.

The National Gallery’s new chief curator is the first woman to ever hold the post. 

The gallery announced on Wednesday morning the appointment of Kitty Scott as its new deputy director and chief curator. She will join the gallery on Jan. 6.

The appointment fills one of two important posts. The position is the head of the Canadian Photography Institute which has been open since March 2018.

Scott has 25 years of experience in museums and galleries in Canada and internationally, including with the National Gallery. 

Kitty Scott is the new deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Canada. Photo: Craig Boyko

“It is always a great honour to work with art and artists,” Scott said in the release. “I look forward to my first day at the gallery and to engaging with the remarkable collection. I am excited to lead a team that thinks about significant treasures from the past alongside important contemporary works of art from around the world, as a way to imagine our future.”

Scott is coming to the National Gallery from the Art Gallery of Ontario where she was the Carol and Morton Rapp Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Scott ws the curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery from 2000 to 2006. During her time in Ottawa she acquired several major works including Louise Bourgeois’ iconic sculpture Maman.

At the AGO, Scott was a colleague of Sasha Suda who is the director and CEO of the National Gallery.

“It is exciting to have Kitty Scott return to the National Gallery of Canada at a moment when we are re-engaging with our mandate in new, bold ways,” said Suda in the release.

“Kitty’s depth of experience, both nationally and internationally, and her future-forward vision for building collections and programs will enable us to resonate with our audiences across Canada and the world. We are looking forward to working with Kitty, the first woman to permanently hold the chief curator position at the gallery, to grow and diversify our audience.”

Scott’s expertise in contemporary art complements Suda’s own background in medieval art.

Recently, Scott curated the exhibition Brian Jungen: Friendship Centre (2019) at the AGO and co-curated the Liverpool Biennial, titled Beautiful World, Where Are You? (2018). She was the curator of A way out of the mirror (2017), Geoffrey Farmer’s installation at the Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

At the AGO, she added to the collections works by artists such as Mohamed Bourouissa, Paul Chan, Anne Collier, Moyra Davey, Tacita Dean, Luis Jacob, Pierre Huyghe, Duane Linklater, Silke Otto-Knapp, Frances Stark, Ron Terada, and Danh Vo. She has also written and lectured extensively on contemporary art and curating.

Scott was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland and holds an MA from the Royal College of Art (London, Eng.) and a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal. She has also worked at the Banff Centre, the Serpentine Galleries in London, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Alberta.

She replaces Paul Lang who left his post in April 2018.

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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.