Now Open: Greater Toronto Art 2024, March 22–July 28.

MOCA Toronto Announces the Appointment of Rui Mateus Amaral as Artistic Director

Rui Mateus Amaral Headshot

TORONTO, ON, May 8, 2024 – Today, The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) is excited to announce the appointment of Rui Mateus Amaral as the museum’s new Artistic Director. Bringing a rich blend of experience and creative vision, Mateus Amaral will focus on developing a diverse range of interdisciplinary exhibitions and programmes that showcase the museum’s dedication to inclusivity, diversity, and artistic excellence through 21st-century production and the commissioning of new work. Previously, he served as Senior Adjunct Curator at MOCA, joining the team in 2019 during the museum’s transition to its new home in the Tower Automotive Building.

Collaborating with Executive Director and CEO, Kathleen Bartels, Mateus Amaral will lead the museum’s programming, overseeing the curatorial, public programmes, and production teams. He will continue to build connections with artists, curators, donors, collectors, and cultural institutions, further strengthening the museum’s role as a cultural leader in Canada and expanding its global reach and reputation. 

Mateus Amaral possesses a unique and multifaceted professional background, marked by his significant contributions to the contemporary art scene in Toronto and beyond. He has curated several notable exhibitions at MOCA, including:

  • Carlos Bunga: A Sudden Beginning (2020), Bunga’s first exhibition in Canada, where he produced two major site-responsive works for MOCA
  • Greater Toronto Art 2021 (2021), the inaugural triennial exhibition co-curated with colleagues November Paynter and Daisy Derosiers. This exhibition was conceived to support artists from the Greater Toronto Area, and to develop an institutional practice of describing the city through the artist’s perspective
  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Summer/Winter (2022), the artist’s first exhibition in Canada, presented in two parts, which was accompanied by a city-wide billboard project of the work, “Untitled” (Strange Bird), in partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Athena Papadopoulos: The New Alphabet (2023), Papadopoulos’ first institutional solo exhibition in Canada, comprising two extraordinary new bodies of work set within a memorable exhibition design
  • Liz Magor: The Separation (2023), an exhibition featuring the work of one Canada’s most influential artists, grounded by one of her largest site specific commissions to date. 

“Rui has an exemplary track record of producing engaging exhibitions, introducing audiences to a diversity of local and international artistic expressions,” says Kathleen Bartels, Executive Director and CEO, Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA). “I’m thrilled that our team will have the opportunity to continue benefiting from his experience, creative vision and leadership, as we further elevate and amplify MOCA Toronto’s reputation on the world stage.” 

Prior to his evolving role at MOCA, Mateus Amaral was the curator and director of Scrap Metal, an eccentric, privately owned, not-for-profit art space in the Lower Junction neighbourhood. Over the course of a decade, Mateus Amaral curated notable exhibitions by artists Eduardo Basualdo, Eric N. Mack, Hudinilson Jr., Paul P., Ryan Gander, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Iris Häussler, and Eva Kot’átková, among others (many for whom it was their first solo presentation in Canada). In the spirit of collaboration and with his leadership, Scrap Metal co-presented major projects with local organizations such as Fogo Island Arts, Toronto International Film Festival, Contact Photography Festival, Images Festival, and the Art Gallery of York University. 

Mateus Amaral has also consulted on projects for a number of organizations and institutions such as the Royal Ontario Museum, the Canadian Art Foundation, Art Toronto, and various luxury brands. His writing has appeared in Artforum International and Momus, as well as artist publications. In 2022, Mateus Amaral and artist Paul P. collaborated on Garden Court, Scott Burton, a publication reintroducing an important, yet overlooked public artwork to the city of Toronto. 


The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) presents rotating exhibitions that prioritize twenty-first-century artistic production, primarily through commissioning of new work. Artists, partnerships, experimentation, and reciprocal initiatives are at the centre of MOCA’s mission as a locally rooted and internationally connected organization. Focused on core values promoting equity, inclusion, access, courage, and responsibility, MOCA fosters active participation and engagement to serve as a welcoming cultural hub in the hyper-diverse city of Toronto.


Sydney Torgov, Chimera Collective


Image Credit: Rui Mateus Amaral. 2024. Photo: Samantha Pierre and Diego Armand.