Plug In Director wins Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Art Award

Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art Director Anthony Kiendl has been announced as the winner of the 2009 Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award for curatorial excellence in contemporary art.

Vancouver-based artist Rebecca Belmore won the $25,000 prize for outstanding achievement by a Canadian artist. Belmore presented a performance at Plug In ICA in 1994.

The award recipients were selected by a jury of arts professionals from across Canada: Ian Carr-Harris, artist, writer and educator, Ontario College of Art & Design; Peter Dykhuis, Director/Curator, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax; Timothy Long, Head Curator, MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Joan Stebbins, Curator Emerita, Southern Alberta Art Gallery and  Gaétane Verna, Executive Director at Musée d’art de Joliette, QC.

In recommending Kiendl for the $15,000 curatorial award the jury praised the deep understanding of artists, their work as an expression of culture. “Anthony Kiendl’s curatorial practice is shaped by a global perspective and sustained by an unbounded curiosity regarding contemporary culture and its artifacts. His diverse background as a curator encompasses a broad spectrum of arts related activity and reflects an understanding gained through involvement in artist run centres, public art galleries, art centres, arts boards and diverse communities. His extensive research, writing and publishing have focused on the overlooked and undervalued. Kiendl’s curatorial projects have consistently addressed topics that have been marginalized by exclusion from the mainstream and his scrutiny has deemed them worthy of critical attention. Thoughtful in framing and gentle in spirit, Anthony Kiendl’s curatorship challenges ideologies of power by looking beyond the obvious to expose the most basic elements that contribute to the construction of culture. In doing so, he has highlighted and championed the work of a broad range of contemporary art practitioners and expanded the margins of cultural theory bringing new audiences to contemporary art.”

Plug In Board President Noam Gonick has collaborated with Belmore as technical producer for her Venice Biennale installation “Fountain” (2005), and more recently for her latest commission by The Rooms in St. John’s, Newfoundland (2008).

About The Hnatyshyn Foundation 

The Hnatyshyn Foundation is a private charity established by the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Canada’s twenty-fourth Governor General to help emerging and established artists in all disciplines with their schooling and training and promote, to the Canadian public, the importance of the arts in our society. Its programs are funded by donations from government, foundations, corporations and individuals. The Department of Canadian Heritage has provided $2.4 million in matching funds to the Foundation.

Information about The Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Awards is available on the Foundation’s website.

The awards will be presented in Winnipeg, Manitoba on December 1, 2009 at a ceremony and reception generously hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, The Honourable Philip S. Lee C.M., O.M. at Government House.