VISUAL ARTS AWARDS
2007 Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art
The recipient of the 2007 Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art is Louise Déry, Director of the Art Gallery at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Louise Déry has a Ph.D. in art history from Université Laval. She formerly held curatorial positions at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (1987-1992) and at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1992-1995).
Ms. Déry's numerous projects as a contemporary art curator have greatly contributed to the advancement of Quebec and Canadian art both nationally and internationally, particularly in France, Belgium, Italy, China, Japan and the United States. She has organized thematic exhibitions that demonstrate her exceptional ability to zero in on the key issues of present-day art, such as public art (Paysages Verticaux, 1989), socially engaged art (L'Art inquiet, 1998), conversation (Are you talking to me?, 2003), the relationship between art and writing (Glissements, 2005), identity (Un archipel de désirs, 1991; Espaces intérieurs, 1998) and absence (L'image manquante, 2004).
A number of her publications have had a significant impact on the development of Quebec art history because they were the first monographs written on artists who have since become permanent fixtures on the art scene (Dominique Blain, Roberto Pellegrinuzzi, Peter Gnass, Myriam Laplante, Jocelyn Robert, Raphaëlle de Groot, among others). Louise Déry has particularly distinguished herself as Director of the Galerie UQAM since taking over the position in 1997. Under her leadership the gallery has become recognized as one of the most intellectually rigorous art galleries in Canada. In 2007, Ms. Déry confirmed the reputation of the institution she manages by serving as curator for the David Altmejd exhibition (Index) in the Canadian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The Altmejd exhibition in Venice was lauded by both Canadian and international art critics as one of the highlights of the prestigious biannual event featuring contemporary art.
In recommending Louise Déry for the Hnatyshyn award, the jury noted the intellectual rigour of her curatorial practice. "Her exhibitions show an ability to engage with the contemporary world and her outstanding catalogues embody a desire to reflect on what it means to live in our world today. They combine a concern for making art accessible to a broad audience with a refined interpretation of the works, giving equal attention to the visual aspect of a work and its meaning."