Exhibitions and projects that I’ve curated and managed
Dorothy Cross - Eye of Shark
I commissioned Dorothy to make this spectacular show in 2014 at St Carthage Hall, featuring the eye of a shark housed in a tabernacle looking over 9 old iron baths with gold along the scum line.
Dan Graham: beyond walls
In summer 2018 I curated the first ever Dan Graham solo show in Ireland, with two iconic films alongside ASPEN 5+6 and Brian O’Doherty’s ONE HERE NOW at Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh.
Michael John Whelan - Lupus
“From the Mountain” an wonderful film by MJ that explored the myth aorund the last wolf in Ireland, as part of his solo exhibition at Grey Noise Gallery, Dubai that I curated in 2014.
Wilhelm Sasnal - Take Me To The Other Side
Inspired by our shared love of Spacemen 3 (hence the title) this Lismore Castle Arts exhibition referenced mythology, bicycle rides and the Stooges, through painting and film
A quirky little show I curated at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery Dublin in 2013 with Ailbhe Ní Bhriain, Gerard Byrne, Amanda Coogan, John Gerrard, Nevan Lahart and Sean Lynch
Possibly the most poignant show I’ve ever curated, featuring works that Willie had made during two extended periods living in Lismore, which had never been exhibited together.
Tadhg McSweeney - Edifice Complex
I loved curating this exhibition at VISUAL in 2013 with Tadhg which unfolded through the main and link galleries with sculptural paintings and a Heath Robinson type contraption.
Corban Walker - Please Adjust
I curated Corban’s exhibition at the 2011 Venice Biennale when he represented Ireland with the national pavilion. The exhibition was then exhibited in two galleries in Ireland: Lismore Castle Arts and RHA
One of the final shows I worked on at The Arts Gallery was Alex Hoda’s disturbingly brilliant solo exhibition in 2008, curated by Nick Aitkens.
Spin - The Art of Record Design
Featuring 40 record covers (and ephemera) with original art works by UAL alumni, selected by Dylan Jones (writer), Farris Rotter (The Horrors) and Peter Saville (iconic music designer), this 2006 exhibition at the Arts Gallery was probably the most popular exhibition I’ve ever worked on
My work as an adviser to public organisations and private clients
Having a private tour of Antony Gormley’s studios with collectors. During my tenure as University Curator at UAL, I established The Exchange - a group of established and emerging contemporary art collectors who I advised. A really fun and dynamic bunch who gave a lot of time to supporting emerging artists
The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon
In autumn 2017 I was appointed Collection Adviser to The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon. The Arts Council has been supporting artists in Ireland and internationally through acquiring work for the national loan collection since the early 1960s, and there are now approx 1,100 works in the collection
My role is to advise the Arts Council on policy + strategy, care of the collection, dissemination of the collection and managing the acquisitions process.
I have been advising private collectors for more than 15 years on all aspects of their collections, from acquisitions to curating.
In November 2018 the Board of VISUAL, Ireland’s largest physical gallery space, asked me to take over as CEO for an interim period. Here are some of the 300 people attending the Stephen McKenna preview in February 2019.
Over the past twenty years I’ve served on boards for Belfast Exposed, Crawford Art Gallery, The London Institute and Solstice Arts Centre amongst other galleries and public institutions.
I have a lifelong commitment to mentoring curators, artists and creatives
Since finishing art school in 1998 I have worked with artists as a mentor from recent graduates to more mature artists. It’s critical to me that artists feel they have some support outside the college or studio network.
I have benefitted immensely from mentoring, so I enjoy mentoring others especially those who work in the visual arts including curators, educators and administrators.
In recent years I have been fortunate to work with the arts offices of local authorities on delivering mentoring and support to artists working in the regions across Ireland, including Kilkenny, Mayo, Waterford and Wexford.
Since graduating from art school I have been involved in professional practice and teaching on curating, as well as advising academics on aspects of education. Recently I have worked with Crawford College of Art, Goldsmiths, University of the Arts London, University College Cork, University College Dublin, Ulster University and others