MA, BA (UBC)
Director Emeritus and Research Fellow at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery
Faculty Associate at the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice
Scott Watson is former Head (2012–2018) and Professor (2003–2022) in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory and Director/Curator of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery (1989–2021) at the University of British Columbia. Distinctions include the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art (2010), Alvin Balkind Award for Creative Curatorship in British Columbia Arts (2008), the UBC Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance Development in the Visual and Performing Arts (2005), and invitation to the UBC Chancellor’s Circle (2005).
Professor Watson has published extensively in the areas of contemporary Canadian and international art. His 1990 monograph on Jack Shadbolt earned the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize (B.C. Book Prize) in 1991. Recent publications include Thrown: British Columbia’s Apprentices of Bernard Leach and their Contemporaries (2011) (finalist for the 2012 Roderick Haig Brown Regional BC Book Prize), “Race, wilderness, territory and the origins of the Modern Canadian landscape” and “Disfigured Nature” (in Beyond Wilderness, Montreal: McGill University Press, 2007); “Transmission difficulties: Vancouver painting in the 1960s” (in Paint, Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 2006); and “The Lost City : Vancouver Painting in the 1950s” (in A Modern Life : Art and Design in British Columbia 1945–1960, Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004). Recent and upcoming curated exhibitions include Letters: Michael Morris and Concrete Poetry (2012); Mark Boulos (2010); Jack Shadbolt: Underpinnings (2009); Exponential Future (2008); Intertidal: Vancouver art & artists (2005–6) at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp; Stan Douglas : Inconsolable Memories (2005–6); Rebecca Belmore: Fountain (2005) for the Venice Biennale Canadian Pavilion; and Thrown : Influences and Intentions of West Coast Ceramics (2004).
Professor Watson’s research focus is contemporary art and issues, art theory and criticism, twentieth-century art history, curatorial and exhibition studies.