Events > News Item

22 Jan. 2024

Departure Announcement – Jonathan Middleton

It is with mixed feelings of gratitude and sadness that we announce the departure of Jonathan Middleton from his role as Executive Director of Art Metropole. After five years of dedicated service, Middleton has decided to pursue independent work as an artist, curator, publisher, and consultant.

Middleton began his tenure in February 2019, four months after the organization moved from its Dundas Street location to its residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) on Sterling Road. In that first year at the helm of the organization, Middleton worked alongside AM staff to develop programming, and recontextualized the shop as Clouds & Horizon, a project of Art Metropole and ‘publication in multiple parts’, replete with its own ISBN. Clouds & Horizon would mark the first of an ongoing series of satellite projects and events to adopt titles drawing on meteorological and topological themes as a way to conjure organic systems of distribution and collection. Satellite projects and programs soon expanded to include the opening of Art Metropole’s Ephemeral Streams mini-shop at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, 4-day Forecast and Altocumulous pop-ups, and art book fairs in San Francisco, Tokyo, Montreal, and Vancouver. During this time Middleton also organized the first performance in Martin Creed’s ‘Getting Changed tour, and the co-publication of Mark Soo’s torrent-based digital publication Twilight on the Edge of Town.

Over the COVID-19 lockdown, Middleton curated and produced several offsite projects, including online book launches, a podcast produced with Oakville Galleries, poster projects by David Hartt, and Kota Ezawa in collaboration with Dodie Belamy, and Society, a year-long mail art project with works by Lorna Brown, Cathy Busby & Garry Neill Kennedy, Maria Fusco, and Rolande Souliere.

In 2020, Middleton led the search for Art Metropole’s new home, finally identifying and negotiating a lease for its current space at 896 College Street; coordinating the move there in tandem with AM’s staff and board, and commissioning Toronto artist Christian Kliegel to install a sculptural shelf installation.

Over his tenure, Art Metropole produced and co-produced over 40 art publications and editions, often working closely with partners that include New Documents, Information Office, Toronto Biennial of Art, Jumblies Theatre, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Remai Modern, Art Gallery of York University, and others. These publications include 1—130 by Nour Bishouty; For Zitkála-Šá by Raven Chacon, Water, Kinship, Belief; A Treaty Guide for Torontonians (now in a second edition); and Queuejumping by Marina Roy. An additional seven titles are currently in various stages of development and production.

These partnerships were bolstered by strategic improvements to Art Metropole’s wholesale activities and library services program, which combined with improved shop sales at College Street, have contributed to a 74% increase in works disseminated and a doubling of corresponding gross revenues compared to recent pre-pandemic years. Under Middleton’s direction, Art Metropole was the first arts organization to acquire certification as a Living Wage employer through the Ontario Living Wage Network. He further stabilized the organization’s finances through the introduction of important policy improvements and fundraising initiatives, ultimately improving the organization’s relationships with government funding bodies.

The board of directors and staff of AM are grateful for the leadership and dedication Middleton has brought to the organization, and we wish him all the best as he moves into the next chapter in his career and practice. Middleton will stay in his role until a new director has been hired, to allow for a smooth succession. He also plans to stay close to Art Metropole to assist with publications initiated during his tenure, and to help with some components of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebrations now underway.

Art Metropole’s board will be conducting a search for a new director, and we look forward to sharing an open call in the coming weeks.


Jonathan Middleton at Art Metropole. Photo by Sara Maston.

  1. Jonathan Middleton