The Gallery Mindset: Aryen Hoekstra, Director, Franz Kaka

Laurie Kang, Bloom, 2019, mesh fruit bags, polymer clay, paint cans, reflective sheeting, cordyceps fungus. Courtesy the artist and Oakville Galleries

Aryen Hoekstra, Director
Franz Kaka
87 Wade Ave, B1, Toronto


Where is home to you?

I am based in Toronto, Canada.

How did you become involved in the art world?

I first became involved with the art world as an artist and writer, completing an MFA at the University of Guelph and exhibiting my work in a variety of museums, artist-run centres, commercial galleries, and independent project spaces across Canada while also writing for magazines including Frieze, Canadian Art, C Magazine, and Border Crossings. I was the Director of G Gallery until it closed an 2016, at which point I opened my own gallery Franz Kaka.

What draws you into an artwork?

I believe that artworks are a very particular type of object that encourage us to view the world in unfamiliar and unsettling ways. There is a certain indescribability when standing in front of a genuinely compelling artwork, producing an experience that language doesn’t quite feel up to the task of. My favourite works are those that are truly strange is this sense, those that pull us out of ourselves and any reliance on language, planning, and fixity.    

Do you have a favourite exhibition you’ve seen in the past year?

My favourite exhibitions from the last year include Pope.L’s Choir at the Whitney in New York, and Laurie Kang’s Beolle at Oakville Galleries.  

What are you working on currently?

We are continuing to work on programming for the end of the summer as well as a number of digital
projects with gallery artists and artists who have had their projects interrupted or postponed by the pandemic.