Attending art classes at the Carnegie Museum as a seven-year-old instilled in William Stover a passion for art, but it was a visit to the Carnegie International a number of years later, that inspired him to work with living artists. Since that time, Stover has held positions at a number of important and diverse institutions as well as worked independently to present the art of our time.
From 1997-1999 Stover was Exhibitions Associate at Independent Curators International where he oversaw the production of exhibitions and catalogues for a number of significant exhibitions, including, From the Poetic to the Political: Irish Art Now and Lee Krasner, the first large-scale retrospective of the artists’ work since her death in 1984. Stover’s tenure at the New Museum of Contemporary Art saw him managing the day-to-day operations of the Curatorial Department as well as coordinating the production of catalogues for Paul McCarthy and Pierre et Gilles, among others.
In 2002 Stover was appointed Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a fairly traditional, encyclopedic museum, to reinvigorate the contemporary department with an innovative program of exhibitions, events, and acquisitions from a global perspective. Among such projects, Stover commissioned the performance, My Boston, from Zhang Huan to celebrate the acquisition of his work and to establish the presence of performance art at the MFA, introduced the work of Cerith Wyn Evans to new audiences through his first museum show in the United States, and invited Jim Lambie to create an installation inspired by the architecture of the MFA. Additionally, Stover conducted a critical examination of the collection to fill gaps and expand areas of strength. From the strengths, and addressing those gaps, he devised inventive displays, which allowed viewers to see the collection in new and unexpected ways; including the exhibition “Seeing Songs” which presented work by artists as diverse as Wassily Kadinsky and Candice Breitz that was inspired by music; transforming something that is arguably intangible, into visual, physical form; to explore issues of technology and loneliness in contemporary society.
Stover’s practice has allowed the viewer’s engagement with art to be about extended looking, thinking and interacting with art situated within different locations and contexts.
Since returning to New York in 2010, Stover has curated a number of exhibitions including Carlos Dávila Rinaldi: Only Essence Remains, Museum of the Americas, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Alpine Desire, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York; Ellen Harvey and Jason Middlebrook: The Natural Order of Things, DODGEgallery, New York; Sites of Memory: Architecture and Remembering, Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, New York; Clothes make the man? Childs Gallery, Boston. Stover currently curates a significant collection of contemporary art in New York.