16 Female Curators Shaking Things Up in 2016
These women are changing the game.
There’s no shortage of female curators making their mark on the art world.
Here’s a small sample of just a few women to keep your eye on this year, as we look forward to exhibitions such as “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” at the new Met Breuer in New York, the Beatriz Santiago Muñoz show at the New Museum, “Women of Abstract Expressionism” at the Denver Art Museum, and more.
1. Kelly Baum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
When Baum joined the Metropolitan Musem of Art as curator of postwar and contemporary art in the museum’s department of modern and contemporary art in June 2015, her timing couldn’t have been better.
Baum has become a key player as the museum prepares to unveil the new Met Breuer space (aka, the old Whitney Museum), curating “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” with her predecessor, Nicholas Cullinan, and the Met’s European painting curator, Andrea Bayer. Baum comes to New York from Princeton University Art Museum, where she was the curator of modern and contemporary art.
2. Johanna Burton, New Museum, New York
Before joining the New Museum as director and curator of education and public engagement in January 2013, Burton was the graduate program director at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
She organized the museum’s current Cheryl Donegan exhibition, the first solo museum show for the artist, as well as the upcoming Beatriz Santiago Muñoz show.
3. Kalia Brooks, independent curator, New York
Formerly the exhibitions director at Brooklyn’s Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooks teamed up with New York’s Gracie Mansion Conservancy in 2015 to curate a historically-minded art exhibition at the mayor’s home. Currently, she is co-curating the 2016 edition of Jamaica Flux, a public art project from the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning that will bring site-specific work from 19 artists and collectives to unconventional locations along Jamaica Avenue in Queens.
Brooks is also collaborating with Hank Willis Thomas on the Philly Block Project, a year-long community-based photo project at the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center.
4. Gwen Chanzit, Denver Art Museum
As the Denver Art Museum’s curator of modern art, Chanzit is well-versed in the Abstract Expressionists. Her upcoming offering, “Women of Abstract Expressionism,” examines the movement from a new point of view, casting the spotlight on the unsung female artists who were part of it, as well as such big names as Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner, and Helen Frankenthaler.
5. Federica Chiocchetti, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
As a woman wearing many hats, Chiocchetti serves as a photography critic and editor, as well as the founder and director of Photocaptionist, an online platform exploring the overlap of photography and literature.
Chiocchetti curated Nottingham Castle‘s recent exhibition “PH Emerson: Presented By the Author,” which included a lost print by the British writer and photographer that she discovered in the castle archives, as part of the V&A’s Curatorial Fellowship Program.
6. Lauren Cornell, New Museum, New York
After co-curating the museum’s well-received 2015 Triennial with artist Ryan Trecartin, Cornell was brought on board full-time in June 2015 as curator and associate director of technology initiatives. She was previously the executive director of Rhizome, and arts organization for Internet art.
Cornell’s latest initiative is Open Score, and annual art and technology conference co-presented by the museum and Rhizome, which held its first sold-out session in January.
7. Astrid de Maismont, Gertrude and ArtList, New York
Proving that the role of curator is constantly in flux, de Maismont curates Gertrude Stein-inspired “salons,” which act as sophisticated events which blur the lines between social and educational spheres.
The salon series takes its name from writer, art collector, and social connector Gertrude Stein. De Maismont’s upcoming salons include an evening discovering the work of recent Hunter College MFA grad Roman Cochet at a secret location in Lower Manhattan.
8. Amanda Hunt, Studio Museum in Harlem
Hunt joined the Studio Museum as its assistant curator in summer 2014, after a three-year stint on the West Coast as curator of Los Angeles’s LAXART.
Hunt curated the museum’s current exhibition, “A Constellation,” on view through March 6, which pairs the work of eight important 20th-century artists of African descent with that of 18 emerging artists.
9. Clara M. Kim, the Tate Modern, London
After curating Frieze’s Spotlight section at the London fair’s October edition, Kim, the senior curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, was chosen by the Tate Modern to be their new senior curator for international art.
In her new role, Kim will focus on art from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
10. Koyo Kouoh, RAW Material Company, Dakar
The founding artistic director of Dakar’s RAW Material Company, Kouoh is currently curating the upcoming EVA International, the 37th edition of Ireland’s Biennial.
New Yorkers can catch her work closer to home at the upcoming 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where she will curate a selection of lectures and panel discussions.
11. Christine Macel, Centre Pompidou, Paris
Macel joined the Pompidou as its chief curator in 2000, and was responsible for founding the museum’s department of contemporary art.
This past month, she was appointed chief curator of the next Venice Biennale, which will open in May 2017.
12. Piper Marshall, Mary Boone Gallery, New York
After running the Three’s Company gallery with current ICA Miami curator Alex Gartenfeld out of his New York apartment, Marshall spent six years at the Swiss Institute before being tapped by Boone in 2014 to curate monographic exhibitions.
Marshall’s partnership with the gallery has been so fruitful that the initial six-show term of her engagement with the gallery has been extended. By the end of the season, Marshall will have organized no less than 12 shows for Boone, including the upcoming “You the Better,” featuring a 1983 film by Ericka Beckman, and a summer group show featuring four female artists.
13. Ceci Moss, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
After serving as the senior editor for New York’s art and technology nonprofit Rhizome, Moss is now the assistant visual arts curator at the YBCA.
Currently, her exhibition “Metahaven: The Sprawl,” from Amsterdam-based design studio Metahaven, explores the dissemination of propaganda in the social media age. Next on tap, Moss has a Samara Golden show opening in March.
14. Selene Preciado, the Getty Foundation, Los Angeles
In addition to her work as a program assistant at the Getty Foundation, Preciado also works as an independent curator.
Her current projects include “José Montoya’s Abundant Harvest,” co-curated with Richard Montoya at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, and the LACE Emerging Curator Program‘s inaugural presentation, “Customizing Language,” co-curated with Idurre Alonso.
15. Lauren Ross, Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond, Virginia
Big things are coming to Richmond with the construction of the Virginia’s ICA, and Ross, as the inaugural curator, stands at the ready.
When she was the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ross organized “Nir Evron: Projected Claims,” the first museum exhibition for the Israeli artist. The show, which debuted at the Philbrook in 2015, just completed its run at the ICA, in the museum’s temporary on-campus gallery space.
16. Jennifer Scanlan, Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City
Along with co-curator Ezra Shales, Scanlan brought much-needed attention to postwar female artists working with alternative materials in the exhibition “Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today,” currently on view at the National Museum of Women in the Arts following a successful run at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.
After five years as an independent curator, Scanlan recently accepted the post of curatorial and exhibitions director at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center in Oklahoma City.
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