The Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University has announced Gaëtane Verna as its next executive director. Verna comes to the Columbus institution from the Power Plant in Toronto, where she has since 2012 served as artistic director. She replaces Johanna Burton, who departed the Wexner last fall to helm the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The interceding months saw Kelly Stevelt and Megan Cavanaugh acting as interim codirectors.
Verna will step into her role at the Wexner—whose employees, like so many at museums across the country, recently moved to unionize—in November.
“We are thrilled to welcome Gaëtane Verna to Ohio State and the Wexner Center for the Arts,” said Ohio State executive vice president and provost Dr. Melissa L. Gilliam. “With deep experience in elevating emerging and established artists, she believes strongly in the role of contemporary art as a conduit for exploring important issues and engaging communities. As she joins us in Columbus, she will be bolstered by our talented and dedicated Wex staff and our students, faculty, staff and community that engage with the Wex.”
Before arriving at the Power Plant—which, like the Wexner, is a noncollecting contemporary art institution—Verna from 2006 to 2012 served as executive director and chief curator of the Musée d’art de Joliette, one of Quebec’s largest art museums. She was previously curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, from 1999 to 2006, and has taught art history at Bishop’s University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Among the artists for whom she has organized exhibitions over the course of her more-than-twenty-year career are Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Vasco Araújo, Miriam Cahn, Alfredo Jaar, Luis Jacob, Kimsooja, Yam Lau, Oswaldo Maciá, Mario Pfeifer, Javier Téllez, Denyse Thomasos, Bill Viola, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Zineb Sedira, and Franz Erhard Walther. She is a 2017 recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.