After seven years at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Julian Cox will join the Art Gallery of Ontario’s staff as the museum’s chief curator and deputy director. (The latter title is one he’ll share with Alicia Vandermeer, who is currently the museum’s deputy director and chief advancement officer.) Cox will start his position, which involves overseeing a group of ten curators at the Toronto institution, in January 2018, if he is approved to work in 3Canada.
“I really like the direction that the AGO is moving in, and I like the direction that [director Stephan Jost] is moving the institution in,” Cox said in a phone interview. He hopes to focus his work on helping the museum create shows that can travel. “We want to create projects that we can send on the road to other institutions,” he added, noting that he is currently working on a major Peter Paul Rubens show that will open first at the AGO in 2019 and later venture to the FAMSF.
Cox began working as FAMSF’s chief curator in 2010, overseeing exhibitions and collection hangs in the museums’ European paintings and decorative arts, American art, and contemporary art departments, among others.
At the FAMSF, Cox had a major commitment to photography and was founding photography curator there, organizing shows about civil rights movement–era art, Anthony Friedkin, and Danny Lyon, whose mid-career survey memorably appeared in New York at the Whitney Museum. At the AGO, Cox said, he’ll merely oversee the curators working in the photography department. “I won’t tamper with that in any way. They already know what they’re doing,” he noted.
Before working at FAMSF, Cox was a curator of photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where he worked for five years. Prior to that, he had spent 12 years at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles as a photography curator, organizing major André Kertész, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Alfred Stieglitz exhibitions.