MacLaren welcomes Ben Portis as new Curator

The MacLaren Welcomes Curator Ben Portis

We are so pleased to introduce Ben Portis as the new Curator of The MacLarenArtCentre. Ben brings a diverse background as visual artist, writer, and independent and institutional curator to his new role. His appointment commences April 5, 2010.

Ben Portis holds an M.A. in Curatorial Studies from Bard College in New York, an M.F.A. from The University of Chicago, and a B.F.A. from Queen’s University. Ben began his visual arts career as a working artist, but his work took a different path when he began writing art reviews for Parachute magazine and organized a museum exhibition, Civic Visions, World’s Fair, at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. These led him to consider that a career as a curator might be a fulfilling outlet for his creativity, and he enrolled in the graduate program for
training contemporary art curators at Bard College.

From 2002 to 2009, Ben was Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. There he was known for his fresh eye on the museum’s permanent collection, his visible commitment to artists, his lucid writing, and the significant solo exhibitions and projects he organized by artists such as David Urban, Rebecca Belmore, Harun Farocki, Eddo Stern, Seth, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Denyse Thomasos, among many others. Ben is also an acclaimed writer whose essays, articles and reviews frequently appear in exhibition publications and art journals, including Canadian Art and Border Crossings. Earlier in his career, Ben was a curatorial assistant at The Dia Center for the Arts in New York, a curatorial intern at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and a gallery assistant at The Renaissance Society in Chicago. Recently, he was the curator of tandem exhibitions by Kent Monkman which opened in Calgary in February 2010 at the Glenbow Museum and Trépanier Baer Gallery.

Carolyn Bell Farrell, Executive Director, comments, “Ben possesses an extraordinary intellectual curiosity, passion and engagement with the contemporary visual arts. We are delighted to have a curator and writer of his calibre join our artistic team at the MacLaren.”

Please join us in welcoming Ben to the MacLaren and to Barrie. You will have an opportunity to meet him on Thursday April 8 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm as we celebrate the opening of our spring exhibitions Janet Jones: DaDa Delirium and Tony Romano: Notary Moon. We look forward to seeing you!

Acknowledgements: The MacLarenArtCentre gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of its members, benefactors, partners and donors, the City of Barrie, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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