NEW YORK — Eat. Drink. Bid. That was what arts organization Independent Curators International encouraged guests to do by posting those three words in the program and on the walls at its 2012 fall benefit and auction at New York’s Prince George Ballroom. And that they did, eating mini burgers and dumplings, drinking libations poured peculiarly from a small keg strapped on to a server’s back, and bidding on works by such artists as Olaf Breuning, Ellsworth Kelly, and Laurel Nakadate.
Model Karlie Kloss, artists Rashid Johnson and Marina Abramovic, and curator Neville Wakefield were among the personalities on hand to honor Nav Haq, curator of MuHKA, Antwerp; and Jay Sanders, curator and curator of the performing arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art, with the Independent Vision Curatorial Award. Philanthropist and entrepreneur Dasha Zhukova received the 2012 Leo Award for her innovative work founding Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow.
“Spreading art to the Russian public has not been met without resistance — but through education programs, exhibitions, and our kids workshops we’ve been able to engage an audience from 8 to 80, and I think that the success of these initiatives is deeply rooted in the ability of our staff to tap into the global curatorial dialogue,” said Zhukova in her acceptance speech.
Curator and Serpentine Gallery director Hans Ulrich Obrist, who presented Haq and Sanders with their awards, spoke to ARTINFO about the two honorees. “What they both have in common — Jay and Nav — is that they work very closely with artists and I think that’s the most important thing about curating,” he said.
Obrist mentioned that he had visited the hurricane-ravaged Rockaways with PS1 MoMA director and MoMA curator at large Klaus Biesenbach earlier that day. “It’s really devastating,” said Obrist. “It’s much more extreme than what we see in the newspapers.”
Sanders discussed the importance of ICI with ARTINFO. “I grew up in Oregon, in Portland in the early ’90s, and I see these world-class, sophisticated exhibitions of new art and new ideas, and I wouldn’t have had the perspective to know this — but they were ICI shows that were touring,” he said. “It’s a way for really interesting art, and ideas, and critical discourse to permeate and disseminate — and it’s invaluable.”
Click on the slideshow to see images from the ICI fall benefit and auction.