Arts & Entertainment

SECCA Says Farewell to Curator Matijcio

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by Chad Nance


By Staff


In a press release SECCA announced Wednesday that its Curator of Contemporary Art Steven Matijcio will assume a new curatorial position at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH, beginning June 1, 2013.

“When Steven joined SECCA in 2008, we were in a major transition – becoming an operating entity of the North Carolina Museum of Art and the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources,” said SECCA Executive Director Mark Leach. “His energy and perspective on art-making on the global stage allowed us to make a new imprint as a Center that not only offered visually compelling and continually changing work, but also thoughtfully enhanced perspectives. His greatest impact on our art center has been that he was able to inspire this community to rally around new ideas, and a refreshed SECCA. Steven’s vision of what we could be has forever shaped our future, and we will miss having him on the Matijcioteam.”


During Matijcio’s tenure at SECCA, he curated more than 25 exhibitions and projects spanning a wide range of media, art forms and cultural perspectives. His curatorial debut at SECCA in 2008 included a solo show of Dutch Photographer Erwin Olaf and a group show featuring videos by Carlos Amorales, Jeremy Blake, Louis Cameron and Shazia Shikander. His most recent projects at SECCA include Vibha Galhotra: Metropia; Frank Selby: Misunderstanding; and dialogue shows pairing Jacco Olivier, Jennifer West, Tomory Dodge and Denyse Thomasos.

According to SECCA Foundation Chair Wesley Davis, “Steven’s unique vision has ignited a SECCA renaissance as a leader in cutting-edge contemporary art in North Carolina and the Southeast and has propelled us into the future. His visionary curatorial exhibitions have made a lasting impression upon visitors to SECCA; and we are appreciative of all of his hard work and dedication.”

In 2009 Matijcio took art out of the museum and into the community with public art initiatives that allowed SECCA to remain vital and visible while the building underwent major renovations. Inside Out: Artists in the Community II was one of Winston-Salem’s most ambitious public art programs in recent years, bringing artists such as Anna von Gwinner, Kianga Ford and Mark Jenkins to various locations in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. As the refreshed museum opened to the public in 2010, Matijcio unveiled an international exhibition that reflected the organization’s wish for the community to return and be awestruck. The exhibit, Look Again, examined contemporary translations of the centuries-old “trompe l’oeil” (trick of the eye) tradition, urging visitors to take a second look – and be amazed – at the seemingly familiar.

From this well-received re-opening exhibition, Matijco set the tone at SECCA, solidifying his reputation as having the ability to see dynamic intersections between artists, media and the Center’s galleries. Highlights from his diverse and provocative tenure included displays of multi-disciplinary works by Shinique Smith; hand-drawn animations by Glenda Wharton, contemporary interpretations of woodworking by Aaron Spangler and Alison Elizabeth Taylor in the exhibition American Gothic; politically poignant soft sculptures by Margarita Cabrera; a re-reading of fashion as an archive of time, nature, and memory in Out of Fashion; redrawn photographs of international war zones by Curtis Mann; and the award-winning paperless exhibition that won the support of both the Emily Hall Tremaine and Elizabeth Firestone-Graham Foundations.

Matijcio was a global representative for SECCA during his time with the organization, participating in residencies and conferences in Gwangju, South Korea; Berlin, Germany and Montreal, Canada. His global impact was punctuated in 2012 when he organized art thou gone, beloved ghost? in Gdansk, Poland. It was a city-wide celebration of large-scale video projections that brought together performance, politics and implicit memories of a haunted city.

“I have had so many great opportunities to help shape this organization,” commented Matijco. “I have the utmost respect for Mark Leach, the staff, the Board, and everyone who propels SECCA as a premier arts organization in this country. They have given me the platform to explore art on an international stage, and continually elevate my ambitions. There are few places in this world as unique as SECCA; and I’m proud to be part of its story. I look forward to watching this organization reach new heights in the near future.”

SECCA will conduct a search for a new curator in the coming months. In the meantime, Matijco’s vision will continue through 2013 and 2014 as the museum stages three exhibitions that were designed by him with works by Iranian artist Reza Aramesh, Chinese artist Zhang Qing and British artist Claire Harvey.

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