10 Cutting-Edge Curators From Around the World (Part 2)

From left: Sunjung Kim, Shanay Jhaveri, Geoff Newton, Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, and Courtenay Finn

The art world is ever-more international, with artists crossing borders and new global audiences demanding new ways of exhibiting and thinking about art. Who are the curators who are wrestling with this process, and what new ways of thinking about art will they come up with? To begin to answer these questions, BLOUIN ARTINFO has turned to its editors across the globe, asking them to profile curators who seem to be starting a new conversation. Below, we present Part Two of this two-part series.

Watch ARTINFO video of cutting-edge curator Travis Chamberlain. 


NAME: Courtenay Finn

WORKS WITHArt in General (New York), as curator

NOTABLE SHOWS: Since becoming Art in General’s curator in early 2011, Finn has curated some of the Tribeca art space’s strongest and most ambitious exhibitions, including the gallery’s 30th anniversary exhibition “Walking Forward-Running Past” and the wildly popular Zefrey Throwell participatory piece “I’ll Raise You One…” as part of the performance art biennial Performa’s 2011 edition. That piece had strip poker players bearing all in the gallery’s street-level storefront space, while crowds of voyeurs clogged the street outside. This year, Finn and Art in General director Anne Barlow co-curated the Latvian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, along with Alise Tīfentāle, organizing a two-artist show by Kaspars Podnieks and Krišs Salmanis.

BACKGROUND: Prior to her tenure at Art in General, Finn served as the programs administrator at the Lower East Side Printshop, and curated “You can't get there from here but you can get here from there,” an exhibition about written directions and performance in conceptual art, at apexart. She earned her Master’s in curatorial practice from the California College of the Arts and received a BFA in fiber and material studies at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

ON CURATING: “The first line of Jens Hoffmann’s introduction to The Exhibitionist is ‘One measure of the vitality of a discipline is the intensity of the debate surrounding it.’ That this statement is a preface to a magazine about exhibition making, rather than curatorial practice, is telling. The definition of what constitutes curatorial practice continues to shift and transform, occupying territory far and away from the arrangement of art objects within space, and reinvigorating parallel platforms to the exhibition, such as the publication and the public program. New York is no exception. In the past five years it has produced Paul Chan’s Badlands Unlimited, Summer Guthery’s Chrysler Series, and The Artists Institute, who dedicate an entire season of a two-season program to a single artist. It even creates new districts, the NY Times dubbed Donut District, simply by the opening of new spaces like p.r.i.m.e.t.i.m.e and Know More Games. There is a constant sense of immediacy and experimentation in New York.”

FUTURE PROJECTS: Curating the next season at Art in General

—Benjamin Sutton


NAME: Shanay Jhaveri

WORKS WITH: Independent curator; PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art

NOTABLE SHOWS: “Companionable Silences,” Palais de Tokyo, June 2013-September 2013; “Outsider Films on India,” Tate Modern, June 2010; “Questions of Travel,” part of the LUX/ICA Biennial of Moving Images (May 2012).

BACKGROUND: Barely 28 and armed with an undergraduate degree from Brown University in Art Semiotics and the History of Art and Architecture, Mumbai- and London-based curator Shanay Jhaveri has been making impressive strides within the Indian and international art world. With two remarkable books to his credit, “Western Artists and India: Creative Inspirations in Art and Design,” published this year, and “Outsider Films on India: 1950-1990,” published in 2010, and a prolific repertoire of critical art reviews for publications like Art Asia Pacific, ARTIndia, Wallpaper, Bidoun, and 032c, Jhaveri has asserted himself as a confident new voice. His projects are usually long-term ones, in which a specific idea, figure, or topic is intensely researched over a period of time. Jhaveri also served as guest editor for a special issue of Marg, India’s oldest arts publication, on moving image practices in India titled “Being Here, Now: Some Insights into Indian Cinema.” He has also written monographic essays on established artists like Vivan Sundaram, Shilpa Gupta, Nikhil Chopra, and The Otolith Group, and has contributed texts for the Barbican show “Everything was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s” (on Raghubir Singh) and to the collection “Mutations: Perspectives on Photography,” edited by Chantal Pontbriand.

SHANAY JHAVERI ON CURATING: “It is very easy to be seduced by the contemporary, and I feel that there is a need for a reorientation of the present to the modern to the historical, and to test the imagination while doing so.”

FUTURE PROJECTS: A presentation of work by William Gedney and Raghubir Singh at Esther Schipper Gallery, Berlin, September 2013

— Rosalyn D’Mello


NAME: Sunjung Kim


NOTABLE SHOWS: “Somewhere in Time,” the inaugural edition of Platform Seoul (2006); “Your Bright Future,” an exhibition of 12 contemporary Korean artists at LACMA and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts (2009-2010); “6th Mediacity Seoul,” a biannual new media exhibition in Seoul (2010); “Lee Bul,” a mid-career retrospective on Lee Bul at Artsonje Center (2012); “ROUNDTABLE,” the 9th Gwangju Biennale co-directed by six international curators (2012)

BACKGROUND: After her 11-year tenure at Artsonje Center, one of the most innovative private art institutions in Seoul today, Sunjung Kim created her own independent curatorial group Samuso in 2005 (they still most frequently work with Artsonje). This postmodern curatorial organization promotes the idea of art beyond the rigid boundaries of the gallery, and in 2012 it organized an exhibition inside the DMZ and the neighboring town of Cheorwon — the first art show ever to be held within these strictly secured areas. Whether it’s her smaller shows featuring emerging names hailing from cities as far away as Ireland, or Samuso's ambitious gesture of introducing the collection of Luxembourg’s nascent Mudam Museum, Kim’s efforts have brought a global edge to the developing art scene and helped build an international network for local Korean artists.

SUNJUNG KIM ON CURATING: “I think a curator is a person who conveys the diverse narratives of our time through exhibitions. Art is a movement that strives to go beyond conventional systems, and for that we need to combine renewed endeavors with non-artistic fields and academia. I believe that a curator should carry out the role of supporter, one who can develop the work of artists through dialogue and understand the cultural differences of those with diverse nationalities and backgrounds.”

FUTURE PROJECTS: “Real DMZ Project 2013: Borderline,” Cheorwon County, border area near DMZ (July 27-September 22, 2013)

—Ines Min


NAME: Geoff Newton

WORKS WITH: Neon Parc Gallery (Melbourne), director; independent curator

NOTABLE SHOWS: “Like Mike Now What??,” an ambitious 37-artist multi-venue tribute to controversial Australian artist Mike Brown (1938-1997), presented by the Linden Centre of Contemporary Arts (co-curated with Jan Duffy, program director at the Linden Centre); “Video Doctor,” an exhibition of screen-based media works at Arts Project Australia featuring the work of Cory Arcangel and Paper Rad alongside the work of a group of artists in residence (2013); an exhibition of work by Franz West and his protégé Josh Smith at Neon Parc (2012).

BACKGROUND: Since graduating from the Canberra School of Art in 2000, Geoff Newton has established himself as one of Australia’s top gallerists and most exciting curators, as well as an artist of significant renown in his own right. Following a move from Canberra to Melbourne, Newton launched the one-day-a-month exhibition space Dudespace at his home in Brunswick in 2002. In 2006 he founded Neon Parc Gallery, currently regarded as one of the most progressive and dynamic galleries in Australia. Newton is known for drawing on his own experiences as an artist when developing exhibitions.

GEOFF NEWTON ON CURATING: “The shows I've curated, either at Neon Parc or outside the gallery, have engaged with things which interest me as an artist, be they inter-generational meditations on painting or, say, the proliferation of video game culture and its effect on video art. Shows might pay homage to an idea or a cultural figure, or tease out questions of a particular media. I like to bring an international artist out to Australia at least once a year, while regular visitation at international fairs affords me the opportunity to keep in touch with what's happening outside the country. Australia is a tough audience. I like artists who can respond to things outside of their work.

FUTURE PROJECTS: “Heavenly Stems,” an eclectic intergenerational exhibition of works by three artists: Dick Watkins, Angela Brennan, and Rebecca Scibilia (the title for the exhibition comes from a 1990s NYC band called “Heavenly Ten Stems” which is basically a cover band for Indian and Thai pop songs).

— Nicholas Forrest


NAME: Jacopo Crivelli Visconti

WORKS WITHinstitutions and commercial galleries across Brazil and internationally, as independent curator

NOTABLE SHOWS: A show of paintings by contemporary Brazilian artist Leda Catunda, now traveling to the Museu Oscar Niemeyer in Curitiba, Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, and Instituto Tomie Ohtake in São Paulo; the Brazilian Pavilion in the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); Solo Projects section of Pinta NY Art Fair (2011, 2012); Sismografo,” Palacio das Artes, Belo Horizonte (2011); Ponto de equilibrio,” Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Sao Paulo (2010); ARCO Solo Projects, Madrid (2009 and 2010)

BACKGROUND: Italian-born Crivelli Visconti has lived and worked in Brazil for over a decade, completing his PhD at the University of Sao Paulo in the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU-USP). An influential curator in the burgeoning Brazilian art world, he is particularly interested in the ways in which contemporary artists revisit forgotten, but influential, historical episodes.

JACOPO CRIVELLI VISCONTI ON CURATING: “The context in Brazil is completely different from Europe or the U.S., and I feel that my work here is very often about creating an institutional space for the artists to show and produce their work. The whole system is still growing and consolidating, so the artists need this kind of protection more than in other contexts, and I understand that it is part of the obligation of a curator to defend that space.

FUTURE PROJECTSCurating a group show of Brazilian artists’ books, which will be part of Imagine Brazil,” to open in October in the Astrup Fearnley Museum, in Oslo. Crivelli Visconti is also editing two books, one on Iran do Espírito Santo's works on paper, and the other on young Brazilian artist André Komatsu. His largest current project is co-curating the 12th edition of the Cuenca Biennale which will open in March 2014 and include approximately 40 international artists. 

— Sara Roffino