CEO and director Chantal Pontbriand has left the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto-Canada eight months after her appointment, according to a report in the Toronto Star.
“On Thursday, rumours began circulating that Pontbriand, who only took her post in October, had abruptly severed ties with the museum. By Thursday evening, senior museum officials had confirmed that Pontbriand was in fact no longer with the institution,” writes Murray Whyte (who interviewed Pontbriand shortly after her appointment for this publication).
MOCA is currently in the process of relocating from its former location on Queen Street West to the Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road. The new vision for the institution, slated to be completed in May 2017, has been largely shaped around Pontbriand’s notion of “the agora” (“a public space for working out democracy today,” as museum releases have put it), and has included a lounge space on the fourth floor called “the squat,” extended visiting hours, a “philosopher in residence,” increased publication activity and more.
Upon her hiring, Pontbriand was responsible for creating “a comprehensive vision for the general orientation of the collection, exhibitions, programs and events, media initiatives, and publications,” in addition to developing outreach initiatives and funding structures.
Pontbriand came to the position from Paris, where she was an associate professor at the Sorbonne-Paris IV. Her previous roles include working at the Tate Modern as head of exhibitions research and development, which she began in 2010. Earlier in her career, in the 1970s, she spent three years at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts working in programming and education. Pontbriand also co-founded the contemporary-art magazine Parachute, which published from 1975 to 2007.
Pontbriand has also been involved in Demo-Graphics, a diversity-based biennial project in the Greater Toronto Area planned for 2017. There is no word as of yet about her continued involvement in that project.
A formal announcement regarding the departure is expected from the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto-Canada tomorrow.