TORONTO — The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) today announces the appointment of Dr. Adam Welch to the position of Associate Curator, Modern Art. The Toronto-raised curator starts his role at AGO on November 13, 2023. The appointment begins amidst a period of exciting growth for the museum as the AGO anticipates breaking ground on the Dani Reiss Modern & Contemporary Gallery -- its expansion to increase space for the AGO’s collection of modern and contemporary art – in 2024. In his role with the AGO’s Department of Modern Art, Dr. Welch will develop exhibitions, lead acquisitions, and help guide the installation of the AGO’s new gallery.
“The quality of the AGO’s collection of Modern Art is a testament to the forward-looking vision of generations of donors, artists and curators, and we are very pleased to welcome Adam at this pivotal moment of collection growth and building expansion,” says Julian Cox, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, AGO. “He brings to the position an impressive track record of substantive exhibitions as well as an intimate knowledge of Toronto and its unique role in the evolution of modernism.”
Curator of the acclaimed 2022 retrospective exhibition General Idea, currently on view at the Gropius Bau, Berlin, Dr. Welch comes to the AGO from the National Gallery of Canada, where he served as Associate Curator, Canadian Art. Prior to that he held positions at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A PhD in the history of Art, his doctoral dissertation, from the University of Toronto, Borderline Research: Art between Canada and the United States, 1965–75, explored relationships between artists, curators, and dealers across the Canadian American border.
"Having grown up in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is my hometown museum. It was where I first learned how museums build community and create cultural literacy. I have been fortunate to collaborate often with the AGO as a curator, and I'm now delighted to support its vision," says Dr. Welch. “The ideals and outcomes of modernism continue to ricochet globally, impacting artists, art and contemporary life everywhere, and I’m very excited to help lead that conversation from Toronto.”
Home to the world’s largest public collection of Henry Moore sculptures as well as the Sam & Ayala Zacks collection, the AGO’s holdings of Modern Art continue to grow. Reflecting the global nature of modernism, it features artworks from North America, Europe and Brazil, including celebrated surrealist and post-painterly abstract paintings as well as rare examples of the Cologne Dada movement. The department champions art from the 20th century and engagements with modernist aesthetics through acquisitions, exhibitions, and publications.
In the spring of 2024, highlights from the AGO’s Department of Modern Art will go on view, in a new exhibition, Moments in Modernism, curated by AGO’s Stephan Jost, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO and Debbie Johnsen, Manager, Modern and Contemporary Collections. Demonstrating the international nature of modernism, the presentation will feature iconic artworks by Andy Warhol, Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko, alongside works by Alex Colville, Jack Bush, Guido Molinari, Norval Morrisseau, Tomie Ohtake and Rubem Valentim.
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ABOUT THE AGO
Located in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, attracting approximately one million visitors annually. The AGO Collection of more than 120,000 works of art ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists to European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, including solo exhibitions and acquisitions by diverse and underrepresented artists from around the world. The AGO is committed to being welcoming and accessible: admission is free for anyone under 25 years, and anyone can purchase an annual pass for $35. In 2022, the AGO began the design phase of an expansion project intended to increase exhibition space for the museum’s growing modern and contemporary collection. When construction begins in 2024, it will be the seventh expansion that the AGO has undertaken since it was founded in 1900. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.
The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts, and generous contributions from AGO Members, donors and private-sector partners.
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