‘I See Pace Taking a Lot of Really Interesting Risks’: Writer and Curator Kimberly Drew on Why She’s Joining the Gallery World

After 10 years in arts communications, Drew views her commercial pivot as a chance to work closely with living artists.

Kimberly Drew. Photo by Inez and Vinoodh, courtesy Kimberly Drew and Pace Gallery.

Writer and curator Kimberly Drew, author of This Is What I Know About Art and coeditor of the anthology Black Futures, is joining Pace Gallery as an associate director.

The social media manager at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art from 2015 to 2018, Drew has more than ten years of art-world experience, including posts at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Lehmann Maupin gallery. But joining the sales team at a global gallery marks a new phase in her career.

“For the last decade, I’ve been working in the capacity of the communications department,” Drew told Artnet News. “As I think about the future, I really do want to expand my skill sets.”

The news of Drew’s jump to the gallery sector comes roughly one year after another prominent Black arts writer and curator, Antwaun Sargent, became a director and curator at Gagosian Gallery.

Various projects had kept Drew busy after her exit from the Met, including completing the books and launching the online event series “Black Power Lunch Hour” and the Your Attention Please podcast from Hulu about Black creatives. Following a recent curatorial residency at Voice, helping artists mint their first NFTs, she started looking for jobs with an eye towards rejoining an institution. However, an opening at Pace caught her eye.

“I had worked with the gallery on an event a few years ago, so I reached out to Marc [Glimcher, Pace’s president and CEO] and started a conversation,” Drew said.

What drew her to the role was the opportunity to work with living artists, and to become part of the support system at a gallery that keeps their careers running. (She’s most excited, she noted, to meet Yto Barrada.) But it was also Pace in particular that appealed.

“I see Pace taking a lot of really interesting risks with the launch of Pace Verso [the gallery’s new NFT platform] and even the programming arm of Pace Live,” Drew said. “It seems like such an agile and open system, and that was really attractive to me.”

Drew was also clear about her need for guidance transitioning to the commercial side of the art world. “I’ll be learning and also be mentored,” she said. “I wanted to be able to join a team.”

But the new job doesn’t mean Drew plans to stop writing any time soon.

“I’m hoping to do some work with Pace Publishing, for sure,” she said. “Once a writer, always a writer—it’s in our blood.”

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