Dr. Simon Maidment is a curator, writer and art consultant and commissioner. He has experience leading the artistic direction and effective management of arts organisations in institutional and grass-roots contexts.
He has specialist experience in building and managing significant collections of contemporary art (Australian and International), historical art, critical design and Indigenous art and cultural objects.
He possesses a deep knowledge of Australian and International cultural practice, maintaining a network of artists, critical designers, writers, publishers, collectors, curators, gallerists and museum professionals around the world, built over the past 20 years through his extensive fieldwork, research and the realisation of ambitious cross-disciplinary projects.
Maidment completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2018. His research used curatorial practice as a method to investigate art’s relationship to social and political change.
His past roles include as Associate Director, Art Museums, at the University of Melbourne, and Director of three of its museums, the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Buxton Contemporary and Old Quad, all situated in Melbourne. This also encompassed having curatorial responsibility for the University’s art collection, comprising over 17,000 works, including its UNESCO recognised collections of Indigenous art and cultural material.
He was previously Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, where he was responsible for a curatorial department working across Australian and International contemporary art in both gallery venues; creating exhibitions at the country’s best-attended public art museum, with an annual visitation of 3.2 million, and collecting as part one of the most active and ambitious acquisition programs of contemporary art in the region. Over the course of eight years, between 2013 and 2021, he oversaw more than doubling the size of the contemporary art collection at the NGV, and a substantial increase in contemporary art exhibitions, publications and audiences for the department’s activities. Curated NGV exhibitions included group shows such as the inaugural 2017 and 2020 iterations of the NGV Triennial, Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes, Who’s Afraid of Colour, Shut Up and Paint, and Melbourne Now, solo artist survey exhibitions of KAWS, David Hockney, Julian Opie, Gareth Sansom and David McDiarmid, and solo project shows by Shirin Neshat, Ryan Trecartin & Lizzie Fitch, Richard Mosse, Lee Mingwei, Subodh Gupta and Carsten Höller. While at NGV he edited five artist monographs, most recently on Camille Henrot, and was co-editor of catalogues to accompany both editions of the NGV Triennial and Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes, as a well as The Centre: On art and urbanism in China, the inaugural publication of the NGV’s critical imprint, an initiative he co-conceived and co-founded.
Maidment was founding Director of Satellite Art Projects, a non-profit arts organisation developing and commissioning off-site, public and satellite programs, and supporting the activities of artists within a critical context. The organisation ran between 2008 and 2013, and Maidment’s activities included curating and presenting a program of live art and performance in the public sphere of Mumbai, India, in January 2013, involving five Australian artists. A number of permanent public art works commissioned by Maidment remain viewable in Melbourne.
He has unique experience in developing and managing large contemporary arts events across multiple venues and public spaces, including as a key curator of Melbourne Now in 2013; the Visual Arts program of Melbourne International Arts Festival (2008, 2009 & 2010); Project Manager of Rapt! 20 Contemporary Artists from Japan, an Australia-wide series of residencies, exhibitions, public programs and publications presented by the Japan Foundation, Tokyo; and, Making Space: artist run initiatives in Victoria, a state-wide event which he co-developed with Arts Victoria and the Australia Council for the Arts.
He was Director of West Space, an independent non-profit artist-led gallery in Melbourne between 2005 and 2008, presenting over 100 exhibitions over this period.