Montreal Biennial Director Resigns Six Months Before Exhibition Slated To Open


Just six months after taking the helm, and only six months before the 2013 Montreal Biennial (BNL MTL) opens its doors, director Nicole Gingras has resigned. The Centre international d’art contemporain de Montreal (CWC), which has led the BNL MTL since its inception in 1998, published the news of Gingras’s departure on its website.

“The CIAC regrets the departure of Ms. Gingras, emphasizes her dedication to the development of the BNL MTL and wishes her the best in her career path,” the statement reads. Chairman of the Board of Directors, Cédric Bisson, had “no comment” for Montreal newspaper Le Devoir as of yesterday, and Gingras has not returned calls.

An independent curator of note, Gingras is the recent recipient of the $15,000 Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art, and awarded “Curator of the year” at the Contemporary Art Galleries Association’s Visual Art Awards in 2011. She seemed to rally the Montreal art community when she was hired to lead the biennial.

The CIAC has been working with Gingras for several months to create a non-profit, legally independent BNL MTL. On its website, the organization insists on the full commitment of Gingras to these administrative changes. In this transition process, the foundation was also seeking a major partner for the long-term biennial event, in an effort to secure capital for its continuation.

Certainly, this resignation throws a spanner in the promised renewal of the BNL MTL. In August, Gingras and Claude Gosselin announced that the exhibition’s eighth edition would take place in September 2013. The co-commissioners, curators Peggy Gale and Gregory Burke, appointed at the same time as the new director, chose the theme “The Future/Looking Forward.”

The future of the biennial, now, is a little less clear.

— Sky Goodden

This article also appears on ARTINFO Canada.

(Photo: Courtesy the Montreal Biennial.)