Toronto, ON (October 22, 2015) MOCCA announces the appointment of Chantal Pontbriand to the newly created position of CEO of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA). The appointment comes as the Museum embarks on a major expansion project taking place over the next two years, including relocating to a new building in early 2017.

Chantal Pontbriand is an internationally-renowned curator and art critic from Montreal. She recently returned to Canada after being based in Paris and London for the last ten years. Pontbriand will guide the re-opening of the Museum at its new premises in the refurbished and historically-designated Tower Automotive Building built in 1919. Pontbriand will evolve a comprehensive vision for the general orientation of the collection, exhibitions, programs and events, media initiatives, and publications. She will lead the institution’s renewed outreach initiative to a larger public audience and the international art world. Pontbriand will also undertake organizational restructuring in order for the Museum to continue moving towards meeting its long-term goals, including developing a funding structure with public and private partners.

As CEO, Pontbriand will work closely with the MOCCA Board of Directors to execute this pivotal phase in the Museum’s development. Pontbriand will also work with the members of the newly formed Capital Campaign Committee and International Advisory Committee.

Chantal Pontbriand. Courtesy of Richard-Max Tremblay.
Sterling small

The Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road.

“MOCCA is delighted to welcome Chantal as our CEO,” says Julia Ouellette, chair of the MOCCA Board of Directors. “Chantal’s arrival marks an exciting and important moment for the Museum and for the Canadian arts community. Her experience in Canada and abroad will strengthen Canada’s presence and enliven our engagement in the global visual arts conversation.”

Speaking about her new position as CEO of MOCCA, Chantal Pontbriand says, “I am delighted to accept this new challenge as MOCCA is poised to become one of Canada’s leading contemporary art institutions. It is particularly exciting to be taking on this project in Toronto which is one of North America’s most dynamic cities in many respects: economically, culturally, and politically. It is an incubator for one of the most diverse and creative populations in the world.

“My aim is to transform MOCCA into a place that can meet the needs of the twenty-first century, connecting with the issues Canada and the world are facing today. These include opening our societies to a diversity of cultures due to unprecedented global migrations, and responding to the new environmental challenges facing our planet. Art plays a major role in advancing knowledge and in enhancing everyday life. Both will be at the heart of the new MOCCA.”

Amongst her many accomplishments, Chantal Pontbriand has been founder-director of two of Canada’s most pioneering institutions in recent decades: Parachute, contemporary art magazine (1975-2007), and the FIND (International Festival of New Dance) (1985-2003), both based in Montreal. These organizations became internationally-recognized leaders in their respective fields, contributing to the recognition of Canadian artists around the world, while introducing international artists from all continents to the Canadian public. Besides pushing the boundaries of artistic disciplines and opening up geographical horizons at a pace enhanced by globalization, Chantal Pontbriand has developed an extensive network nationally and internationally, in the visual arts as well as in the performing arts, including museum directors, curators, critics, collectors, galleries, festival and theater directors, and artists.


Chantal Pontbriand is a contemporary art curator and critic whose work is based on the exploration of questions of globalization and artistic heterogeneity. She has curated numerous international contemporary art events: exhibitions, international festivals and international conferences, primarily in photography, video, performance, dance and multimedia installation. She was a founder of PARACHUTE contemporary art magazine in 1975 and acted as publisher/editor until 2007, publishing 125 issues. After curating several major performance events and festivals, she co-founded the FIND (Festival International de Nouvelle Danse) in Montreal and was president and director from 1982 to 2003. She was appointed Head of Exhibition Research and Development at Tate Modern in London in 2010 and more recently founded PONTBRIAND W.O.R.K.S. [We_Others and Myself_Research_ Knowledge_Systems] to regroup her different activities in the field of contemporary art.

In 2013, she received the Governor General of Canada Award for an Outstanding Contribution in the Visual and Media Arts, and in 2014, an Honorary Doctorate from Concordia University, Montreal, and the distinction of Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres in France (Officer of the Arts and Letters Order of France).

Most recent exhibitions: I See Words, I Hear Voices, Dora Garcia, The Power Plant, Toronto; Mark Lewis Above and Below, Le Bal, Paris, 2015; PER/FORM: How To Do Things with[out] Words, CA2M, Madrid; The Yvonne Rainer Project, Jeu de Paume, Centre d’art de la Ferme du Buisson, and Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Photography performs: The Body as the Archive, Centre de photographie d’Île-de-France (CPIF); Dora Garcia, Of Crimes and Dreams, Darling Foundry, Montreal, 2014; Higher Powers Command, Lhoist Collection, 2010; HF|RG [Harun Farocki|Rodney Graham], Jeu de Paume, Paris 2009.

Recent publications: Mutations, Perspectives on Photography, Steidl/Paris Photo, 2011; The Contemporary, The Common: Art in A Globalizing World, Sternberg Press, Berlin, 2013; PER/FORM: How To Do Things with[out] Words, CA2M/Sternberg Press, Madrid/Berlin, 2014; PARACHUTE: The Anthology, JRP/Ringier, Zurich, 2012-2015 (4 volumes).

ABOUT MOCCA The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art was born on the cusp of the millennium and has exploded onto the Toronto and Canadian art scene with ambitious local-to-global programming. Showcasing the work of over 1,300 Canadian and international artists since 2005, MOCCA functions as a hub for cultural production and creative exchange. In 2017 MOCCA will open its doors to our expanded and permanent home in the Tower Automotive Building on Sterling Road in Toronto’s west end.

With a pioneering approach to partnership, MOCCA actively collaborates with like-minded organizations, including the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and the National Gallery of Canada.

All programs and activities of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art are supported by Toronto Culture, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, BMO Financial Group, individual memberships and private donations.


Mark Savoia
Head, Marketing & Communications