NewsOr Gallery Director/Curator Jonathan Middleton Announces Departure
For Immediate Release
Contact: Liz Knox, board president,
After more than 9 years as director and curator of the Or Gallery, Jonathan Middleton has announced his departure, to take effect later this spring.
The Or Gallery is a non-profit artist-run contemporary art gallery in Vancouver, BC. The gallery was established in 1983 with a commitment to exhibiting work by local, national, and international artists whose art practice is of a critical, conceptual and/or interdisciplinary nature. Middleton took the helm of the Or after the departure of previous director Michèle Faguet. Since that time, the gallery has grown to almost twice its previous budget and developed a wide range of programming initiatives including the Or Bookstore, a seasonal series of summer Beach Talks, the International Chilliwack Biennial, a variety of screenings, readings, lectures and performances, and the production of many editions and books including a new edition of The Vancouver Anthology (2011) and the forthcoming Woodland School Critical Anthology (in partnership with SFU Galleries).
In 2010 Middleton established Or Gallery Berlin, an ongoing satellite space in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood. Operating with the support of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin and a percentage of the Or Gallery’s operating budget, the satellite is thought to be the first such venture produced by a Canadian non-profit gallery or artist-run centre. Working with Berlin-based coordinators Annika Rixen, Lauryn Youden, Elena Gilbert and Christina Green, the Or Gallery Berlin produced 17 exhibitions, and numerous screenings, talks, and residencies.
Middleton’s curatorial undertakings have been characterized by a critical, intellectual, humorous, and socially responsive approach. Over his tenure, the gallery commissioned major film and video projects by Mark Soo, David Hartt and Pelin Tan & Anton Vidokle; and hosted numerous exhibitions by artists including Alejandro Cesarco, Steven Brekelmans, Una Knox, Duane Linklater and Antonia Hirsch. He also started the well-loved Science Fiction series (in its many iterations) and the Troubled Pastoral series, curated with Mark Lanctôt, which included exhibitions by Ann Lislegaard and Neil Wedman, Myfanwy MacLeod, and others.
Each year Middleton’s directorship fostered curatorial research and experimentation by inviting guest curators to develop exhibitions and discursive projects or participate in curatorial residencies. Over 30 guest curated exhibitions and projects were produced under Middleton’s tenure, including projects by Barb Choit, Eric Fredericksen, and Candice Hopkins. Past and present curators-in-residence include Kim Nguyen, Jonah Gray and Joni Low. The Or Gallery’s hardworking staff members Eli Bornowsky and Kate Noble were also encouraged to develop curatorial projects including Bornowsky’s exhibitions and ongoing Clamour & Toll noise series, and Noble’s Dot Feature residency and management of Or Bookstore. Middleton cultivated an open office with his cheerful staff who he pushed to experiment and learn on the job as well as develop these projects.
At his departure, Middleton leaves the Or Gallery in a strong position and with connections to many other local and international arts organizations. The Or Gallery also has major funding secured from the City of Vancouver and BC Arts Council to ensure the purchase of a multi-use residency and project space in Vancouver. Middleton will be missed by those who were lucky enough to work with him – staff, volunteers, co-curators, past and present board members, guest lecturers and all of the artists whose work we experienced over these years.
- 30 -
555 Hamilton St.
T. +1 604.683.7395
Gallery hours 12 - 5PM