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Alexandra Suda. Photo: Craig Boyko.
Alexandra Suda. Photo: Craig Boyko.

National Gallery of Canada Appoints Alexandra Suda Director

Curator Alexandra Suda has been named the next director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada. Suda joins the institution from the Art Gallery of Ontario, where she has worked in various roles since 2011. Her most recent post was curator of European art and chair of prints and drawings. She succeeds Marc Mayer, who stepped down last month after more than a decade at the helm of the gallery.

During his tenure, Mayer oversaw the completion of the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries—which marked the first major gallery transformation since the Moshe Safdie–designed building was inaugurated in 1988—the formation of an Indigenous Advisory Committee, and the establishment of an Indigenous Quinquennial exhibition. He also spearheaded the gallery’s partnership with the Sobey Art Foundation to become the organizing institution for the Sobey Art Award, one of Canada’s largest contemporary art prizes, and the creation of the Canadian Photography Institute.

“As my most rewarding adventure now comes to a close, I feel more grateful than relieved and more humble than proud,” Mayer said about his departure. “Leadership is a communal characteristic as much as a personal trait; it’s the musicians who make the music, after all, not the conductor. No words can express how deeply rewarding it has been for me to serve Canada in this role; the life defining honor of having been given it will stay with me always.”

Suda will begin her five-year term at the Ottawa museum in April. She will be the fourth woman to lead the gallery. Suda told the Ottawa Citizen that one of her first moves will be to hire a chief curator and a head of the Canadian Photography Institute—both of the high-level posts have had interim managers in place since last spring. She also said that while the focus of her career has been European art, she will bring “no kind of European agenda” to her new position.

Heritage minister Pablo Rodriguez, who announced the appointment on Wednesday, February 13, said, “Through her exceptional talent, she will lead the National Gallery of Canada with the highest standards, making Canadians proud of their national art institution.”