The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., has hired Stéphane Aquin as its chief curator, effective early 2015. Aquin replaces Kerry Brougher, who was the museum’s chief curator from 2000 until earlier this year, when he left to head the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in Los Angeles. Aquin will supervise a curatorial team of five staff curators and one curator-at-large.
Aquin has been the curator of contemporary art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art since 1998. Among the shows he has organized there are “Peter Doig: No Foreign Lands” (2014), “Beyond Pop: Tom Wesselmann” (2012) and “Warhol Live: Music and Dance in Andy Warhol’s Work” (2008). He was also responsible for adding over 1,000 works to the collection, by artists including David Altmejd, Richard Artschwager, Los Carpinteros, Pipilotti Rist and Kiki Smith. Before his tenure at the Montreal Museum, Aquin was an art critic from 1992 to 1998, including a stint as chief art critic for the Montreal weekly Voir.
News of Aquin’s selection comes just a few months after Melissa Chiu took the reins at the museum; she was previously director of the Asia Society Museum in New York. This is her second curatorial hire, having appointed Gianni Jetzer, formerly director and curator at New York’s Swiss Institute, to be curator-at-large.
Chiu replaced Richard Koshalek, who departed in 2013 after his plan for a Diller, Scofidio & Renfro-designed inflatable event space failed to gain board support. Board chairman Constance R. Caplan resigned the following month, complaining of “shocking breaches of confidentiality” and other improprieties at the museum’s board meetings.