It is with great sadness that the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art has learned that our long-time, much beloved Gallery Attendant, José Talavera, passed away this past Saturday, January 30, 2016.
Many regular visitors to the gallery will recall José’s constant welcoming and smiling presence upon entering the lobby of our premises on Queen Street West, and in our galleries in North York. Hired by the Toronto Centre for the Arts in North York, José has been with the gallery since the day it opened in 1993 as the Art Gallery of North York and he was present behind the desk until we closed the doors on our Queen Street facility this past August.
Working at MOCCA was not his only thing. While the galley was closed between exhibitions José travelled extensively, visiting galleries, museums and other points of interest in various cities around North America, and also undertook numerous adventures, including, recently, hang-gliding. (Yes, hang-gliding!)
José has been a loyal MOCCA soldier since the day I started at the gallery in December 2000 and his enthusiasm for his role was further ignited by our move to Queen Street in 2005. Over the years I’ve received a regular stream of feedback from visitors commenting upon José’s warmth and hospitality – not something that I ever took for granted. José’s unfailing positivity served as an inspiration to our roster of Gallery Attendants – and to me.
I am well aware that MOCCA’s reputation for hospitality and accessibility owes a great deal to José and it is my intention to carry that spirit forward into our new venue.
While it stands to reason that he would develop an understanding and appreciation of contemporary art over the years, perhaps most significantly I know that above all, José had the utmost respect for artists and their work, as well as the work and contributions of other professionals in the field.
I know that José will be missed by his Family, and his extended family in the art world; all MOCCA staff and Board, present and past; all of the artists and others that did projects at MOCCA; many in the Toronto art community, and the many visitors that came through our doors.
Artistic Director & Curator