Closely Watched Guggenheim Curator Xiaoyu Weng to Join Art Gallery of Ontario

Xiaoyu Weng, who has worked as associate curator of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York since 2015, will join the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto as curator of modern and contemporary art this summer. In her new role, Weng will lead the AGO’s modern and contemporary department.

Weng’s curatorial credits at the Guggenheim include “Tales of Our Time” (2016–17) and “One Hand Clapping” (2018), the latter a a critically acclaimed group show focused on globalization and Chinese art. Under her leadership, the museum’s Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative commissioned 27 new works, all of which entered the institution’s permanent collection. Weng also served as curator of the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg, Russia, from 2018 to 2019.

In an interview with ARTnews, Weng said that she has long admired the contemporary program at the AGO. Her focus will be bringing in new perspectives to exhibitions and programming, telling new stories using historical artworks, and considering the intersections of science, technology, and art.

As she takes the helm of the AGO’s modern and contemporary art department, Weng is thinking about how exhibitions can “bring in multiple perspectives and look at history differently.” She added that, ahead of her move to Toronto, she’s ruminating on “what it means to lead a global discourse in contemporary art,” a position that she believes will require “a certain level of risk-taking.”

“I also want to rethink what is considered important or mainstream and what kinds of stories art can tell,” Weng said.

Julian Cox, deputy director and chief curator of the AGO, said in a statement, “Xiaoyu’s uniquely international experience and vision, and her longstanding engagement in expanding the art historical canon will help us further our goals of leading global conversations from Toronto. She will also help us put Canadian artists on the global stage and shape the presentation of our collection in dynamic new ways.”

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