The University of Alberta Museums is excited to welcome three new individuals to the curatorial team of the Mactaggart Art Collection and the University of Alberta Art Collection. Dr. Isabel (Pi-fen) Chueh joins as the Curator, Mactaggart Art Collection, Dr. Nadia Kurd as the Curator, University of Alberta Art Collection and Emerald Johnstone-Bedell as the Assistant Curator, University of Alberta Art Collection.
Dr. Chueh, Curator, Mactaggart Art Collection, arrived in Edmonton at the end of February 2018 from Taiwan where she has worked for the past seven years as the Curator of Textiles at the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum.
“Isabel brings a wealth of knowledge from her experience at the National Palace Museum,” said Janine Andrews, Executive Director, University of Alberta Museums and Collections. “We are looking forward to her continuing the mission for the Mactaggart Art Collection through building international connections with China and Chinese communities, by attracting more researchers from interdisciplinary backgrounds to study this world-renowned collection, and by making it more accessible through local and international travelling exhibitions.”
While at the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum, Dr. Chueh assisted with the acquisition of over 1,300 East Asian textiles and was a part of the curatorial team that developed major exhibitions including Boldness of Forms and Colors: Asian Textiles in the National Palace Museum Collection. Dr. Chueh’s area of expertise is in textile design with a focus on Ming and Qing dynasty Chinese silk.
Joining as Curator, University of Alberta Art Collection, Dr. Kurd will begin her position on July 23, 2018. Previously the Curator of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery in Thunder Bay, Ontario she was responsible for the overall management of the permanent collection of contemporary North American Indigenous art. Dr. Kurd’s breadth of work also includes collaborations with a number of community organizations and educational institutions.
“One of Nadia’s real strengths is her ability to establish and maintain community and individual relationships,” said Andrews. “Her skills will continue to elevate the University of Alberta Art Collection in order to connect with researchers, artists, and donors in many meaningful ways. Her expertise will be well utilized as we grow the Art Collection in areas such as contemporary Canadian and Indigenous art.”
Over the last 13 years, Dr. Kurd has curated or co-curated over 25 exhibitions and has had her work and research published in over 25 publications. She is a board member of the Historians of Islamic Art Association and a member of the College Arts Association and The Universities Art Association of Canada, among others. Dr. Kurd also recently obtained a New Chapter grant from the Canada Council of the Arts to commission 25 Indigenous and Canadian artists to create works of art.
The position of Curator, University of Alberta Art Collection has been vacant since last spring when the previous long-standing Curator, Jim Corrigan, passed away in March 2017.
Ms. Johnstone-Bedell will join the team as Assistant Curator, University of Alberta Art Collection on May 22, 2018 after holding the Assistant Curator position at the University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries in Victoria British Columbia.
“Emerald has a range of skills that will help her in the new Assistant Curator position with the University of Alberta Art Collection,” said Andrews. “Her experience in public art, repatriation, curation and collections management practices are all strong assets for her role in the Art Collection.”
Ms. Johnstone-Bedell holds a master of arts in art history from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and has curated a number of exhibitions at the Legacy Art Galleries including: So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright – an exhibition where they said “so long” to seven Frank Lloyd Wright designed windows that were given back to the house they originated from.
The position of Assistant Curator, University of Alberta Art Collection has been vacant since fall 2017 when the previous Assistant Curator, Matthew Hills, accepted a position with the Memorial University Gallery in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
"We are excited to welcome these new members to the University of Alberta Museums team,” said Andrews. “By continuing to build new connections, making the collections more accessible to local and international audiences, and by encouraging research within the respective collections, I have no doubt that Isabel, Nadia, and Emerald will become strong advocates for the Mactaggart Art Collection and the University of Alberta Art Collection.”
Photo: Dr. Isabel (Pi-fen) Chueh - Curator, Mactaggart Art Collection (© 2018 - University of Alberta)