Curator, author, essayist and consultant to art galleries and museums, Tom Smart is especially noted for his award-winning, critical biographies, catalogues and books on Canadian artists, including painters Christopher Pratt, Jack Chambers, Alex Colville, Mary Pratt, Tom Forrestall, Miller Brittain and Fred Ross, graphic novelist George Walker, sculptor John Hooper, and many other contemporary and historical artists.
Smart has worked in art galleries and museums across Canada and the United States among them the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, The Frick in Pittsburgh, and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, where he was its Executive Director from 2006 – 2010. In 2004 – 2005, Mr. Smart was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University.
He has lectured at universities and galleries, among them the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Toronto, University of Western Ontario, University of Manitoba, and at the National Gallery of Canada. As a curator, he has developed programmes featuring exhibitions drawn from major European, American and Canadian museums and galleries, including the Albertina (Vienna), the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery (Glasgow), the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam), the National Gallery of Wales (Cardiff), the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (Copenhagen), Musée Amiens (Picardie), the Morgan Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, among many others.
Smart’s curatorial and exhibition programming projects have focused on blending historical and contemporary art forms in order to liberate ideas from their modes of representation. In this regard, Smart has collaborated with artists, poets and institutions such as Vik Muniz, the Dia Foundation, the Dan Flavin Estate, the New York Public Library and Florence’s Opificio delle Pietre Dure.
He is a regular essayist for Canadian Notes & Queries, and his bi-weekly column “The Curator” appears in the Saint John Telegraph-Journal.