Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont Will Co-Organize VOLTA’s Special Curated Section

In short order, the acclaimed section has become a must-see.

Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont. Photo by Guillermo Cano.
Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont. Photo by Guillermo Cano.

VOLTA has announced that artist Mickalene Thomas and collector and art consultant Racquel Chevremont will co-organize its next curated section, the well-received platform initiated in 2016 with a stellar show organized by artist Derrick Adams.

Titled “The Aesthetics of Matter,” Thomas and Chevremont’s edition will focus on collage. The curators selected artists who “explore ideologies of collage within their practice as a constructive mode through material, language, text, cultural and personal concepts,” according to a joint statement.

Thomas says the artists’ works are “social and political through the form of collage, which has always been thought of as a moment of crisis in consciousness.”

The final list of selected artists will be announced as soon as next week, according to the organizers.

“We love the idea that a fair wants to have this kind of a curated section,” Chevremont told artnet News in a phone interview. It gives artists who may not be represented by galleries the opportunity to be seen by thousands of people and “makes it feel a little less like such a commercial endeavor,” she says.

As for the selection process, Thomas and Chevremont described a simple, organic process: looking into artists with whom they may be familiar but perhaps hadn’t visited in the studio. They also made a point to keep their eyes open during trips to fairs ranging from Prospect 4 to Art Basel in Miami Beach. “Who’s out there? Who don’t we know?” says Chevremont.

Thomas is enthusiastic about the diversity of experience and backgrounds among the artists. “We didn’t want to stick to just emerging or just mid-career artists,” she says. “We were very open to people coming from various disciplines but also life experience and whose trajectory was not necessarily through art education.” She notes one artist who was a teacher and began making “fantastic text-based work.”

They hope the final tally will be anywhere between six and nine artists. “We want to keep it small and have it feel like a tightly curated section,” says Chevremont. “It’s about allowing each artist to have a moment, while also presenting the work in conversation with the other artists.”

Thomas and Chevremont also intend to give the artists relatively free reign about what works to show. “I believe most of the work is going to be new,” says Chevremont. “A lot of the artists were using this opportunity to present themselves and their work to an audience that knows nothing about them.”

“If you’re a working artist and you have a studio practice, your work is constantly evolving,” says Thomas. “That’s really important. That’s what I do in my own work. When I have the opportunity to exhibit, I’m always pushing forward.”

To be sure, Thomas herself is busier than ever. Her work will be featured in several upcoming museum exhibitions, including “Figuring History” with Robert Colescott and Kerry James Marshall at the Seattle Art Museum and “I Cant See You Without Me” at the Wexner Center for the Arts and a show at The AGO in Toronto.

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