25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up...25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up Brian Boucher, Tuesday,...

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25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up Brian Boucher, Tuesday, March 17, 2015 Amanda de la Garza, curator at MUAC, Mexico City. We all know that, as Beyoncé puts it, girls run the world. That's arguably especially true in the art world, where many powerful and influential art advisors, auction house specialists and dealers are all women. And then there are the curators, whose exhibitions help us to reassess established figures or bring new ones to light. Curators help build museum collections, or work independently to organize biennials and triennials, and often publish in magazines and journals as part of their portfolio. Who is the next Helen Molesworth, recently appointed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (see Helen Molesworth Hired as Chief Curator of LA MOCA )? Who might be the future Ann Temkin, who has headed up the department of painting and sculpture at New York's Museum of Modern Art since succeeding John Elderfield in 2008? Keep in mind, too, that the road to the director's office sometimes leads through the curatorial department. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Thomas Campbell, MoMA's Glenn Lowry, and the Walker Art Center's Olga Viso all served as curators before taking the helm of their institutions. Heads of major museums tend to be lavishly compensated men, but that's an issue for another time see We Asked 20 Women "Is the Art World Biased?" Here's What They Said (see also The Top 20 Art World Women of 2014 and The Most Powerful Women in Art Part One ). We polled our colleagues far and wide to come up with this roundup of 25 up-and- coming curators to watch, arranged in alphabetical order. (No such list is ever
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Transcript of 25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up...25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up Brian Boucher, Tuesday,...

  • 25 Women Curators Shaking Things Up

    Brian Boucher, Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    Amanda de la Garza, curator a t MUAC, Mexico City.

    We all know that, as Beyoncé puts i t , g ir ls run the wor ld. That 's arguably especial ly true in the art wor ld, where many powerfu l and inf luent ia l ar t advisors, auct ion house special is ts and dealers are al l women. And then there are the curators, whose exhibit ions help us to reassess establ ished f igures or br ing new ones to l ight. Curators help bui ld museum col lect ions, or work independent ly to organize b iennia ls and tr iennials, and of ten publish in magazines and journals as part of their port fol io.

    Who is the next Helen Molesworth, recently appointed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (see Helen Molesworth Hired as Chief Curator of LA MOCA )? Who might be the future Ann Temkin, who has headed up the department of paint ing and sculpture at New York 's Museum of Modern Art s ince succeeding John Elderf ield in 2008? Keep in mind, too, that the road to the director 's off ice sometimes leads through the curator ial department. The Metropoli tan Museum of Art 's Thomas Campbell , MoMA's Glenn Lowry, and the Walker Art Center 's Olga V iso al l served as curators before tak ing the helm of their inst i tut ions. Heads of major museums tend to be lavishly compensated men, but that 's an issue for another t ime —see We Asked 20 Women "Is the Art World Biased?" Here's What They Said (see also The Top 20 Art World Women of 2014 and The Most Powerful Women in Art Part One ). We pol led our col leagues far and wide to come up wi th th is roundup of 25 up -and-coming curators to watch, arranged in alphabetical order. (No such l is t is ever


  • complete, so we also welcome your nominat ions on our Facebook page.) Maybe you' l l see them heading up a department at a museum near you?

    Nancy Adajania, independent curator . Photo: www.kalaghodaassoc iat i on.com

    1. Nancy Adajania, Independent Curator, Mumbai Mumbai-based Nancy Adajania has brought her education in pol i t ical science, social communicat ions media and f i lm to an engagement with contemporary Indian art . She was one of s ix curators (al l women) of “Roundtable," the n inth Gwangju Biennale in 2012, descr ibed as “an open -ended ser ies of col laborat ions" and inc luding Indian art is ts l ike Jangarh Singh Shyam and Sheba Chhachhi. She has lectured al l over Europe, at venues l ike Documenta, in Kassel ; the Ze ntrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM), in Kar lsruhe; and the Gulbenk ian Foundation, in L isbon.

    Kather ine Br inson, curator o f contemporary ar t a t the Guggenheim.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Guggenheim.

    2. Katherine Brinson, Guggenheim Museum, New York W ith a museum-wide Christopher W ool retrospect ive under her belt , as well as Hugo Boss Pr ize shows of Hans -Peter Feldmann and Danh Vo, Br inson has earned her seat at the New York Guggenheim, as wel l as organizing shows at the museum's Ber l in and Bilbao venues. Through her work with the museum's Young Col lectors counci l , she also


  • bolsters the museum's col lect ion of emerging art is ts, br inging in works by art is ts such as Kevin Beasley, Gerard & Kelly, Agnieszka Kurant, and Adam Pendleton.

    Cath leen Chaf fee, curator a t the Albr ight -Knox Art Gal lery.

    Photo: Courtesy of Albr ight -Knox Art Gal lery.

    3. Cathleen Chaffee, Albright -Knox Art Gal lery, Buffalo, New York Af ter st ints at the Yale University Art Ga llery, MoMA, and the Cleveland Museum of Art , Chaf fee went to Buffalo in fal l 2013, replacing Heather Pesanti (see below). Her new show “Overt ime: The Art of Work" ( through May 17) deals with art is t ic conceptions of labor and includes art is ts from Honoré D aumier and Tehching Hsieh to inf luent ial New Yorkers Josh Kline and Agnieszka Kurant. Among those who wil l be the subjects of upcoming solo shows are Ei ja -Li isa Aht i la, Joe Bradley, Michael Rakowitz, and Er in Shirref f .

    Rachel Cook, associate curator a t D iverseW orks.

    Photo by Naomi Beckwi th , courtesy of DiverseWorks.

    4. Rachel Cook, DiverseWorks, Houston. Sound art is coming into i ts own inst i tut ional ly, especia l ly s ince the 2013 exhibi t ion “Soundings: A Contemporary Score" at New York 's MoMA, and Rachel Cook is part of that wave: her recent DiverseW orks show “SonicWorks" featured art is ts ranging f rom

  • locals The Art Guys to New York 's Chr ist ine Sun Kim and Pauline Oliveros. Since sett ing up shop there in 2012, Cook has organized new commissions by art is ts inc luding Wu Tsang and Liz Magic Laser. She also pitched in on “The Eleventh Hour," which highl ighted presenting pol i t ical ly and social ly engaged art is ts f rom Rick Lowe to Gori l la Gir ls Houston and the col lect ive Ant i -Trust.

    Ruth Estevez, gal lery d i rector and curator, REDCAT, Los Angeles.

    Photo: Yvonne Venegas.

    5. Ruth Estévez, REDCAT, Los Angeles Director-curator of visual ar ts at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), Bi lbao-born Ruth Estevez was previously at Museum of Contemporary Art Car r i l lo Gi l in Mexico City; while in Mexico she co -founded the nonprof i t LIGA, Space for Architecture. At REDCAT, she's worked with art is ts including Pablo Bronstein, Javier Tellez, and Allora & Calzadi l la. Among upcoming projects are “Hotel Theory," a group show look ing at the performance of theory, and, in col laborat ion with The Getty Inst i tute, a re-staging of a performance piece by the late Argent inian art is t León Ferrar i , who deployed sculpture and poetry as “revolut ionary weapons" against war, poli t ical author i ty and rel igion.

    6. Amanda de la Garza, MUAC, Mexico City A curator at The University Museum of Contemporary Art s ince 2012, Amanda de la Garza Mata has organized a Batai l le - inspired group show studying the foundat ion of the modern museum as l inked to the Reign of Terror dur ing the French Revolut ion; a solo devoted to avant -garde f i lmmaker Jonas Mekas; and, with Jul io García Muri l lo, “Mina 8. Unidad Pasta de Conchos," an exhib it ion devoted to a controversial coal mine explosion in northern Mexico. In her f ree t ime, she's part of a col lect ive, I l lusory City, that has produced three documentary f i lms on urban issues and helps to edit publ icat ions for Tabasco189 Edit ions, which i l luminates l inks between contemporary art and l i terature.

  • Jarret t Gregory , assoc iate curator of contemporary ar t .

    Photo: Courtesy of Museum Associates/Los Angeles County Museum of Ar t (LACMA)

    7. Jarrett Gregory, Los Angeles County Museum of Art At LACMA since 2011, Gregory organized the recent L.A. i terat ion of the travel ing exhibit ion of French art star Pierre Huyghe (see Is Pierre Huyghe the World's Most Opaque Popular Art is t? Ben Dav is Sizes Up His LACMA Show) as well as shows of Stanley Kubr ick and Stephen Pr ina. In her previous post, at New York 's New Museum, she worked on acclaimed shows l ike the inaugural tr iennial, “Younger than Jesus," and “Ostalgia," which brought to l ight les ser-known Eastern European art is ts, and she's contr ibuted to magazines l ike The Bel iever and Frieze .

    Anna Gri tz, curator for f i lm & performance at the South London Gal lery.

    Photo: Agata Madejska, courtesy of South London Gal lery.

    8. Anna Gritz, South London Gallery In charge of f i lm and performance at the 124 -year-old nonprof i t South London Gallery, Anna Gritz is cook ing up exhib it ions devoted to art is ts Kapwangi Kiwanga, who draws on academic training for research -based projects, as wel l as veteran com ic performer Michael Smith. Af ter earning an MA in curator ial pract ice at Cal i fornia College for the Arts, she cut her teeth at the Inst i tute of Contemporary Arts and the Hayward Gallery, both in London, and ran programs at New York 's apexart. While wr it in g for publ icat ions l ike Mousse and f r ieze d/e , she's got exhibit ions in the works f rom Ljubl jana to Cologne and Southend-on-Sea, where, with Paul Cl inton, she's organizing a show about stupidity.


  • Rujeko Hock ley, assis tant curator o f contemporary ar t at the Brooklyn Museum.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.

    9. Rujeko Hockley, Brooklyn Museum Despite being the museum's assistant curator s ince just 2012, Hock ley has p itched in on shows devoted to LaToya Ruby Frazier, the Bruce High Quali t y Foundat ion , and art ists from the borough (“Crossing Brook lyn: Art f rom Bushwick, Bed -Stuy, and Beyond"), as wel l as the current and hot ly debated Kehinde W iley show (through May 24). She's a veteran of the Studio Museum in Har lem and is, bel ieve i t or not, work ing on a UC San Diego PhD while also serving on panel d iscussions on Afrofutur ism at the Studio Museum, young curators at the School of Visual Arts, and the pr ison - industr ial complex at Neue House.

    Jami l lah James, assistant curator a t the Hammer Museum.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Hammer Museum.

    10. Jamillah James, UCLA Hammer Museum Having held curator ial posit ions in New York at the Studio Museum in Har lem and the Queens Museum before going west to the Ha mmer, Jamil lah James has helped to organize shows there of ar t is ts l ike Mark Bradford and Charles Gaines. She's also pitching in on programming with Bradford's nonprof i t Art + Pract ice, which wi l l br ing art and social services to L.A. 's Leimert Park neighb orhood. She to ld NY Arts magazine last year that she's into pop and celebr i ty cul ture and appreciates that “ i t doesn' t take i tself too ser iously—and I think we can a l l gain something f rom that att i tude ."


  • Ruba Katr ib , curator a t SculptureCenter .

    Photo: Courtesy of SculptureCenter.

    11. Ruba Katrib, Sculpture Center, New York Since earning and MA in curator ia l studies at the powerhouse traini ng program at CCS Bard in New York 's Hudson Valley, Ruba Katr ib has organized US museum debuts for Cory Arcangel and Cla ire Fonta ine, both at the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (see The ICA Miami W il l Bui ld a New Home). At SculptureCenter in Long Is land City, New York , she's helmed projects l ike the 2014 group show “Puddle, pothole, portal, " co-curated with art is t Camil le Henrot , and solos of Radamés “Juni" F igueroa, Jumana Manna and others. Her wr it ing has been featured in Artforum , Kaleidoscope , and Mousse , and she's organizing a group show with her old prof , CCS director Tom Eccles, on Governors Is land th is summer.

    Naima Kei th, associate curator a t the S tudio Museum.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Studio Museum.

    12. Naima Keith, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York Af ter start ing out as an intern at the Studio Museum, Naima Keith returned there in in 2011 as assistant curator, f resh off a st int as curator ial fel low at L.A. 's Hammer Museum, where she assisted with the 2011 -12 show “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los


  • Angeles 1960-1980." She's gotten attent ion for shows l ike “The Shadows Took Shape," look ing at contemporary art through the lens of Afrofutur ism, and a surv ey of Char les Gaines, whose works probe “ the f raught relat ionship between a poetics of chance and a pol i t ics of radical engagement," according to Art in America .

    Tina Kuk ielsk i , independent curator.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Ar t .

    13. T ina Kukielski, independent curator, New York No less a cr i t ic than the New Yorker 's Peter Schjeldahl cal led the 2013 i terat ion of the Carnegie Internat ional “str ik ingly thoughtful," and T ina Kuk ielsk i gets part of the credit , having organized the acclaimed show along with Danie l Baumann and Dan Byers. (See W orld's Top 20 Biennials, Tr iennials, and Miscel lennials ) . She also organized shows there with beloved art is ts work ing with new technology, l ike Cory Arcangel and Anto ine Catala, who shows with plugged - in New York gal lery 47 Canal. She's now back in New York , with several projects in the works, including a group show this summer at James Cohan Gal lery.

    Ale jandra Labast ida, assoc iate curator at the Univers i ty Museum of Contemporary Ar t

    (MUAC). Photo: f rente.com


  • 14. Alejandra Labastida, MUAC (University Museum of Contemporary Art) , Mé xico In 2012, MUAC associate curator Alejandra Labast ida snagged the pr ize in Istanbul 's Akbank Sanat Internat ional Curator ia l Competit ion for a Gil les Deleuze - inspired show, “The Life of Others: Repeti t ion and Survival, " featur ing art is ts f rom François Bu cher and Tania Bruguera to Artur Zmijewsk i. Since sett ing up shop at MUAC in 2008, she's organized a number of in -house shows while also helping to organize the Mexican pavi l ion at the 54th Venice Biennale, in 2011. And she's not even f inished with a master 's degree in art history and curator ia l studies at UNAM (Universidad Autónoma de Mexico).

    Carol Yinghua Lu, independent curator.

    Photo: Courtesy of Independent Curators In ternat ional .

    15. Carol Yinghua Lu, independent curator, Beij ing I f you loved Christ ian Marclay's 24-hour video The Clock , you probably cheered when i t won the Golden Lion at the 2011 Venice Biennale; the art is t part ly has Beij ing -based independent curator Carol Yinghua Lu to thank, s ince she served on the jury. W ith Nancy Adajania (see above) and four others, she co -curated the 2012 Gwangju Biennale; she a lso co-organized the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale in 2012, including art stars l ike Wang Jianwei, Lee Mingwei, and Zhang Xiaogang. Art is t ic director and chief curator at OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Shenzhen, a div is ion of the He Xiangning Art Museum, she co -organized wi th L iu Ding the show “From the Issue of Art to the Issue of Posit ion: Echoes of Socia l is t Realism ," which is now on view.


  • Margot Norton, assoc iate curator at the New Museum.

    Photo: Courtesy of the New Museum; photo by Benoi t Pai l ley.

    16. Margot Norton, New Museum, New York Promoted twice s ince joining the New Museum in 2011, Margot Norton has organ ized exhibit ions including one by Turner Pr ize -winner Laure Prouvost and the museum solo of Judith Bernstein. She's been co -curator of an eye-popping l i tany of exhibit ions, f rom the lauded recentChris Of i l i retrospect ive (see Chris Of i l i 's Gli t ter ing, Dung-Encrusted Paint ings Return to New York ) and the group show “Here and Elsewhe re," devoted to art of the Arab world (see Palest inians and Arabs Hang Tough at the New Museum ). The Columbia curator ial MA grad is look ing ahead to a survey opening this summer of the late Sarah Char lesworth, who, Br ian Wall is wrote in Artforum , “prescient ly grasped the v isual seduct ion of photographs."

    Heather Pesant i , senior curator a t Aust in Contemporary.

    Photo: Courtesy of Aust in Contemporary.

    17. Heather Pesanti, Austin Contemporary The Contemporary Aust in is going big with i ts f i rst large thematic group exhibit ion, “Strange Pilgr ims," and they've placed i t in the hands of Heather Pesanti . Focusing on the “ immersive, part ic ipatory, co l laborat i ve and k inet ic" and including art is ts f rom


  • Charles At las and Tr isha Baga to Bruce Nauman and Yoko Ono, i t opens in September. While at the Albr ight -Knox Art Gallery, in Buf falo, New York , Pesant i organized the well- received histor ica l survey “W ish You Were Here: The Buf falo Avant -Garde in the 1970s."

    Susanne Pfef fer, curator a t Frider ic ianum in Kassel .

    Photo: Courtesy of Fr ider ic ianum.

    18. Susanne Pfeffer, Kunsthaus Fridericianum, Kassel In what 's being cal led the Post - Internet era, in which images circulate endlessly and authorship is said to be ir relevant, Pfeffer 's 2013 -14 show “Speculat ions on Anonymous Mater ials" brought together young art is ts l ike Al isa Baremboym, Oliver Lar ic, and T imur Si -Qin. While curator at Ber l in 's KW Inst i tute for Contemporary Art, Pfeffer conceived the 2008-09 Hotel Marienbad program, in which art is ts l ike Douglas Gordon had a residency in what resembled a hotel room. She's organized solo shows of f igures as var ied as outs ider art is t Joe Coleman (whom no less than Charles Manson cal led “a caveman in a spaceship") , exper imental f i lmmaker Lutz Mommartz (a f i lm of his was included in the MoMA Polke retrospect ive), and scul ptor Richard Serra. Pfeffer wi l l work with art is t Pamela Rosenkranz on the Swiss pavi l ion at the Venice Biennale, opening th is summer (see The 2015 Venice Biennale List of Art is ts Is Out –See Our Exclusive).

    Sara Raza, independent curator .

    Photo: Courtesy of the Guggenheim.

    19. Sara Raza, independent curator, London The Guggenheim Museum is invest ing b ig in widening the g lobal reach of i ts col lect ion, with init iat ives in Asia and Lat in America as well as the Middle East and North Afr ica,


  • which is where Sara Raza comes in as the newest two -year curator ial resident. We' l l see her picks at a 2016 show. As for what those might be, we note that she worked with art is ts including Adel Abidin, Wafaa Bilal and Mohammed Kazem at the Maraya Art Centre in Shar jah when she was adjunct associate curator there; for the 2014 Venice Biennale, she co-curated a show of Saudi Arabian art is ts at the Venice Biennale, including Heba Abed, Basmah Felemban, and Saeed Salem.

    Chen Tamir , curator at Center for Contemporary Ar t in Tel Aviv.

    Photo by Yul i Gorodinsky and courtesy of Elect ron ic Bea ts .

    20. Chen Tamir, Center for Contemporary Art Tel Aviv The Boycott , Divest and Sanct ions (BDS) movement, cal l ing for cultural boycott of Israel i inst i tut ions, has generated copious debate, and CCA Tel Aviv curator Chen Tamir has contr ibuted a report on t he phenomenon, publ ished recently by Hyperal lerg ic (see The Cultural Boycott of Israel Isn' t Sol idar i ty, I t 's Condescension and Ar t is ts for Palest ine UK Respond to JJ Char lesworth's Cr it ic ism of the Cul tural Boycott of Israel ) . Besides her br ick -and-mortar shows of ar t is ts l ike Amie Siegel and Tamar Harpaz, she's a lso commissioned artworks for viewing on mobile devices on the CCA's wireless network . I f you missed her on a panel at the Armory Show recent ly, you can catch her in upcoming talks at the Vera L ist Center in New York or at L.A. 's Otis College.

    Lumi Tan, assoc iate curator a t The Ki tchen.

    Photo: Courtesy of The Ki tchen.

    21. Lumi Tan, The Kitchen, New York


  • Already a veteran of New York 's Zach Feuer Gallery and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Kitchen associate curator Lumi Tan has organized solo exhibit ions of ar t is ts ranging f rom Luke Stettner to Chantal Akerman and produced performances including Danh Vo and Xiu Xiu's mult i far ious show “Metal." Tan is no s louch at the wr it ing desk either, having penned art ic les for Artforum , Frieze , and The New York Times .

    Kel ly Taxter , ass is tant curator a t the Jewish Museum.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Jewish Museum.

    22. Kelly Taxter, Jewish Museum, New York Before becoming assistant curator at the Jewish Museum in 2013, Kel ly Taxter co -ran Taxter & Spengemann Gallery in New York , for eight years, foster ing talents l ike Xavier Cha and Andrew Kuo (see Andrew Kuo and Scott Reeder Opt for Panda Bear Zodiac Sign on Instagram Video). Taxter must have hit the ground running, as she's already opened “Laur ie Simmons: How We See," the art is t 's f i rst New York museum solo, now on view. Besides that, no museumgoer wil l be able to miss her projects, as she's overseeing s ite-specif ic works in the lobby, with art is ts l ike W il lem de Rooij , Ch antal Joffee and Valeska Soares on tap.

    Stephanie Weber, curator o f contemporary art a t Lenbachhaus.

    Photo: Courtesy of Lenbachhaus.


  • 23. Stephanie Weber, Lenbachhaus, Munich While at MoMA in New York , Stephanie W eber curated a solo show of Mark Boulos and f i lm ser ies of Char les Simonds and Christoph Schl ingensief , al l the whi le commissioning performances by Tom Thayer and C. Spencer Yeh and adding to the col lect ion works by Vito Acconci, VALIE EXPORT and Martha Rosler. Since start ing at Munich's Lenbachhaus in September, she's been hard at work on a retrospect ive of Pol ish-born feminist ar t is t Lea Lubl in that opens this summer. I t includes a thir ty -year span of work in var ious mediums by the Argentine -French art is t , who once stole Marcel Duchamp's mailbox.

    Michel le W hite, curator , Meni l Col lect ion.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Meni l Col lec t ion; Photograph by Eric Hester .

    24. Michelle White, Menil Collection, Houston White took up her post at the Meni l af ter honing her sk i l ls at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; her endeavors have been as var ied as projects with the Houston col lect ive Otabenga Jones & Associates (who aim to “ teach the truth to the b lack youth") and the Richard Serra drawings retrospect ive that traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and New York 's Metropol i tan Museum of Art . Among others, Flash Art and Modern Painters have publ ished her wr it ings.

  • Mika Yoshi take, ass is tant curator a t the Hi rshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

    Photo: Courtesy of the Hi rshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

    25. Mika Yoshitake, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. As the Hirshhorn's assistant curator, Yoshitake oversaw the museum's instal lat ion of the travel ing show “Ai Weiwei : According to What?" She earned an AICA-USA award for best show in a commercial gal lery nat ional ly for “Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha" (2012) at Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, which traveled to Gladstone Gallery in New York , and has contr ibuted to other high -prof i le shows l ike the Guggenheim Museum's Lee Ufan retrospect ive and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles' exhibit ion © MURAKAMI. Follow artnet News on Facebook and @briankboucher on Twit ter .