ARTnews in Brief: Public Art Fund Names Melanie Kress Senior Curator, ICI’s 2023 Leo Award Goes to Uzodinma Iweala, and More

The New York–based Public Art Fund has hired Melanie Kress as its senior curator beginning June 26. Kress replaces Allison Glenn, who departed the organization in January.

Kress is currently a curator at High Line Art, where she has organized and commissioned more than 100 projects with artists including Maria Thereza Alves, Firelei Báez, Duane Linklater, Okwui Okpokwasili, Sable Elyse Smith, Lubaina Himid, and Zoe Leonard. She is also a visiting critic at the Yale School of Art in its painting and printmaking program.

“I’ve admired Public Art Fund for years—the organization’s remarkable history laid the groundwork for the thriving landscape of public art we see in New York City today,” Kress said in a statement. “I am dedicated to the belief that great art belongs in public spaces, and feel lucky to live in a city that values access to the arts for all.”

Related Articles

A man standing at the center of a brightly lit red room with paintings on its walls.

Brooklyn Museum Dismisses Negative Reviews of Hannah Gadsby’s ‘Pablo-matic’ Show

Hannah Gadsby’s Disastrous ‘Pablo-matic’ Show at the Brooklyn Museum Has Some ‘Pablo-ms’ of Its Own

At the Public Art Fund, Kress will work closely with Nicholas Baume, the organization’s artistic and executive director, to shape PAF’s programming. In a statement, Baume said, “A champion of diverse artists at various stages of their careers, Kress will contribute significantly to not only Public Art Fund’s artistic programming, but also the field of public art at large.”

The New York–based Independent Curators International will give its 2023 Leo Award to Uzodinma Iweala, the CEO of the Africa Center in East Harlem since 2018. Iweala will be honored at the organization’s fall benefit in October. The Leo Award, named after art dealer Leo Castelli, has been awarded annually since 1990 with recent recipients including Candice Hopkins, Adriano Pedrosa, and Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.

Last year, the two organizations collaborated to present the exhibition “States of Becoming,” which brought together the work of 17 artists from 13 African countries made over the past 30 years. In a statement, ICI executive director Renaud Proch said, “We are grateful for our meaningful partnership with The Africa Center, which will continue to play an important part in shaping our programs for years to come. Uzo’s vision and the values manifested in the Center—collaboration, empowerment, global solidarity, generative thinking—resonate in so many ways with ICI’s own mission.”

Portrait of Selene Preciado.
Selene Preciado. 
Photo Raymundo Barrera

Earlier this month, LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) appointed LA-based independent curator Selene Preciado as its curator and director of programs, beginning August 1. She will organize the first exhibition at LACE’s renovated space when it reopens.  

She has also worked in various roles at the Getty Foundation, both on its Pacific Standard Time initiative and its Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internship program; Preciado has also held curatorial posts at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Museum of Latin American Art.

Preciado’s relationship with LACE dates back to 2016 when she was the institution’s inaugural emerging curator, through which she co-curated the exhibition “Customizing Language.” Since then, she has organized two additional shows at LACE, “Destino Elei via Tiyei” in 2019 and “Ser Todo Es Se Parte” in 2020. Her most recent curatorial credit is “Collidoscope: de la Torre Brothers Retro-Perspective” at the Cheech Marin Center in Riverside, which is currently on a national tour.

“I deeply admire and celebrate the dedication of the current team in elevating LACE’s history through the investment in our own professional community with initiatives such as the Emerging Curator Program and Apprenticeships,” Preciado said in a statement. “These programs are a testament of the institutional values of mentorship and professional development that also motivate me on a personal and professional level.” 

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis also recently appointed Dean Daderko as its chief curator, beginning this summer. They were previously a curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston for around a decade, between 2010 and 2020, and organized exhibitions with artists like Haegue Yang, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, and Wu Tsang and Fred Moten. They also have held posts at Visual AIDS, Art in General, Artists Space, and the Kitchen in New York.

“Dean brings an extraordinary depth of experience, knowledge, and empathy to this position,” CAM executive director Lisa Melandri said in a statement. “We’re excited to have such a dedicated and artist-centric leader on our team who is deeply committed to amplifying the voices of emerging and renowned creatives in the contemporary art world.”

Portrait of Darienne Turner.
Darienne Turner.
Photo Christina Chahyadi

Two museums recently announced positions specializing in Indigenous art. The Brooklyn Museum has named Darienne Turner, an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe of California, as curator of Indigenous art, beginning in August. She is currently assistant curator of Indigenous art of the Americas at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

In a statement, Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternak said, “The Brooklyn Museum is committed to addressing the exclusion and erasure of Indigenous peoples. Drawing on her considerable expertise, Turner will help us think critically about our engagement with Indigenous communities and our important collection of Indigenous art.”

Turner will grow and research the museum’s extensive collection of Native American art, which consists of over 13,600 items and spans 1100 BCE to the 20th century, as well as mount exhibitions. In a statement, she said, “The Brooklyn Museum’s collection is simply remarkable, and I am thrilled to work alongside brilliant colleagues and Native community members to share it with the public. The opportunity to re-present a historic collection at an institution dedicated to rethinking representation was one I couldn’t pass up. The artworks in the Museum’s care offer the keys to understanding who we are as living Native communities, and they highlight the ways in which Native people have thrived on this continent since time immemorial.”

At the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, Johanna Minich will serve as consulting curator of Native American art, where she will help grow the museum’s collection and assist in its presentations of Indigenous art. She was previously the assistant curator for Native American art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where she organized exhibitions including “American Land, American People” (2020) and “Hear My Voice: Native American Art of the Past and Present” (2017).

“The dismantling of centuries of a one-sided narrative regarding the history of Native peoples is a project both daunting and fraught with the potential of criticism from numerous viewpoints. Yet, it also offers the opportunity to explore questions never even conceived of in the past,” Minich said in a statement. “Creating lasting partnerships and reciprocity with Native communities is vital, and that is my primary initiative for the Toledo Museum of Art as I help the Museum highlight the importance of Indigenous people and their art to the North American narrative.

In April, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art named Gamynne Guillotte as its Chief Education and Community Engagement Officer, beginning June 26. She was most recently chief education officer at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where she had worked since 2012. She follows SFMOMA’s recently appointed director Christopher Bedford from the BMA.

“Our work at SFMOMA is guided by a focus on hospitality, establishing a true sense of welcome from the inside out,” Bedford said in a statement. “Gamynne’s extensive experience and long history of developing projects that center a wide range of communities will be invaluable as we chart this new trajectory.”

Other recent institutional appointments include Daniel Merritt as director of curatorial affairs at the Aspen Museum of Art in Colorado, Kristen Gaylord as curator of photography and media arts at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Anke Van Wagenberg as senior curator of American and European Art at the Norton Museum of Art in Florida, Malaika Langa as associate director of the Swiss Institute in New York, Lindsay Catherine Harris as co-director (with artist Shaun Leonardo) of Recess Art in Brooklyn, Lu Zhang as executive director of the New York–based nonprofit A Blade of Grass, and Pablo José Ramírez as a curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, where he is currently co-organizing the institution’s upcoming Made in L.A. biennial.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *