Curatorial Forum 2019

Developed by EXPO CHICAGO and Independent Curators International (ICI), the Curatorial Forum offered a group of mid-career and established curators, working independently or with an institutional affiliation, the opportunity to engage with their peers and explore significant issues relating to curating, programming, institution-building and audience engagement. Featuring a series of sessions focused on critical questions relevant to contemporary practice and context, the Curatorial Forum was led by internationally recognized leaders in the field. 

Independent Curators International

Independent Curators International (ICI) produces exhibitions, events, publications, research and training opportunities for curators and diverse audiences around the world. Established in 1975 and headquartered in New York, ICI is a hub that connects emerging and established curators, artists, and art spaces, forging international networks and generating new forms of collaborations. ICI provides access to the people and practices that are key to current developments in the field, inspiring fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art

Keynote Speaker

Zoe Butt

Artistic Director | Factory Contemporary Arts Centre

Zoe Butt is a curator and writer based in Vietnam, and currently Artistic Director of the Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s first purpose-built space for contemporary art. Her curatorial practice centers on building critically thinking and historically conscious artistic communities and fostering dialogue among countries of the global south. Zoe formerly served as Executive Director and Curator, Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City (2009–2016); Director, International Programs, Long March Project, Beijing (2007–2009); and Assistant Curator, Contemporary Asian Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2001–2007), where she focused on the development of its Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. Her work has been published by Hatje Cantz; ArtReview; Independent Curators International; ArtAsiaPacific; Printed Project; Lalit Kala Akademi; JRP-Ringier; Routledge; and Sternberg Press, among others. Recent exhibitions include Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber - Journey Beyond The Arrow,(2019); Empty Forest: Tuan Andrew Nguyen (2018); Spirit of Friendship and Poetic Amnesia: Phan Thao Nguyen (both 2017); Dislocate: Bui Cong Khanh (2016), Conjuring Capital (2015). Zoe is a member of the Asian Art Council for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and in 2015 was named a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

Session Leaders

C. Ondine Chavoya

Discussion Topic: Race, Gender and Representation

Ondine Chavoya is Professor of Art History and Latina/o Studies at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is the author of numerous texts on Chicano avant-garde art, video and experimental cinema, and is a leading figure in the field of Latinx art history and visual culture. His curatorial projects have addressed issues of collaboration, experimentation, social justice and archival practices in contemporary art. Chavoya has organized exhibitions and events including Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972-1987, the first museum retrospective to present the wide-ranging work of the performance and conceptual art group Asco (2011-2013) with Rita Gonzalez, Robert Rauschenberg: Autobiography (2016) and Michel Auder: Chronicles and Other Scenes (2004) with Lisa Dorin.

José Esparza Chong Cuy

Discussion Topic: Architecture

José Esparza Chong Cuy is the Executive Director and Chief Curator at Storefront for Art and Architecture. Formerly, he was the Pamela Alper Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA Chicago), where he organized solo exhibitions and projects with Jonathas de Andrade, Federico Herrero, Mika Horibuchi and Tania Pérez Córdova. He is also co-curator of the retrospective exhibition Lina Bo Bardi: Habitat, which is co-organized between MASP in Sao Paulo, the Museo Jumex in Mexico City and the MCA Chicago. Previously, he was Associate Curator at the Museo Jumex.

Sara Raza

Discussion Topic: Placefulness

Sara Raza is a curator and writer on global art, and was the winner of the ArtTable New Leadership Award for Women in the Arts (2016). Raza was most recently the Guggenheim UBS MAP curator for the Middle East and North Africa and curated But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2016, which travelled to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan in 2018. Raza has curated exhibitions and projects for several international biennials, festivals and museums, including Mathaf Arab Modern Art Museum, Doha, Qatar and MacKenzie Art Gallery, Saskatchewan, Canada. She has also curated the Tashkent Biennial, Uzbekistan; Rhizoma: Saudi Pavilion, Venice Biennale in 2013; and the Baku Public Art Festival Azerbaijan in 2015. She has organized a number of exhibitions for Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah. Formerly, Raza was the head of education at Yarat, Baku, Azerbaijan, founding curator at Alaan Art Space, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and curator of public programs at Tate Modern, London. Raza is the West and Central Asia editor for ArtAsiaPacific and lives and works in New York, where she runs her own independent global curatorial and visual cultures studio practice Punk Orientalism

Cara Starke

Discussion Topic: Accessibility

Cara Starke is Director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. Previously, she served as Director of Exhibitions at Creative Time, where she realized ambitious public art exhibitions in locations from Central Park to the Domino Sugar Factory, with artist commissions including Kara Walker, Xenobia Bailey, Simone Leigh, Otabenga Jones & Associates, Bradford Young, Suzanne Lacy, Nick Cave, Spencer Finch, Alicia Framis, Nina Katchadourian, Ragnar Kjartansson, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, David Levine, Karyn Olivier, Lauri Stallings, Trevor Paglen and Tom Sachs. Prior to Creative Time, Starke was Assistant Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, where she organized and collaborated on exhibitions with artists Francis Alÿs, Pipilotti Rist, Olafur Eliasson, Mark Boulos, Dinh Q. Lê, William Kentridge, Doug Aitken and Douglas Gordon. Starke holds degrees in art history from Williams College and Cornell University.

Dominic Willsdon

Discussion Topic: Modern Museum in the Global Modern

Dominic Willsdon is an educator and curator. He is the Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where he is also associate professor in art education. He was formerly Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a Pedagogical Curator of the 9th Mercosul Biennial (2013) and a Co-Curator of the 9th Liverpool Biennial (2016), and Curator of Public Programs at Tate Modern (2000-2005). Recent curatorial projects include Public Knowledge (2016-19) and Suzanne Lacy: We Are Here (2019). Recent publications include Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (MIT, 2016).

2019 Participants

Wassan Al-Khudhairi | Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Chief Curator
Joseph Becker | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Associate Curator of Architecture and Design
Giovanna Borasi | Canadian Centre for Architecture Chief Curator
Maite Borjabad | Art Institute of Chicago Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design 
Zoe Butt | The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre Artistic Director
Anthony Carfello | Independent Curator
C. Ondine Chavoya | Williams College Professor of Art History and Latina/o Studies
Alexandra Cunningham Cameron | Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Museum of Design Curator Contemporary Design
Claire D'Alba | Art In Embassies, U.S. Department of State Curator
Dina Deitsch | Tufts University Art Galleries Director Chief Curator
Don Desmett | Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Interim Curator
Grace Deveney | Prospect.5 Associate Curator
José Esparza Chong Cuy | Storefront for Art and Architecture Director
Catherine Futter | Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Director Curatorial Affairs
Kimberli Gant | Chrysler Museum of Art Curator Modern and Contemporary Art
Allison Glenn | Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Associate Curator of Contemporary Art
Jia Gu | Materials & Applications Director and Curator
Mary Heathcott | Blue Star Contemporary Executive Director
Carmen Hermo | Brooklyn Museum Associate Curator of our Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Kaytie Johnson | San Deigo History Center Bruce Kammerling Curator 
Ross Jordan | Jane Adams Hull-House Museum Curatorial Manager
Veronica Kessenich | Atlanta Contemporary Executive Director
Emily A. Kuhlmann | Museum of the African Diaspora Director of Exhibitions & Curatorial Affairs
Leslie Laird Luebbers | Art Museum of the University of Memphis Director
Barbara London | The Museum of Modern Art Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art
Diana Nawi | Independent Curator
Monica Obniski | Milwaukee Art Museum Demmer Curator of 20th and 21st Century Design
Marina Otero Verzier | Het Nieuwe Instituut Spanish Architect and the Director of Research
Heather Pesanti | The Contemporary Austin Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs
Allison Quinn | Hyde Park Art Center Director of Exhibitions and Residencies
Sara Raza | Independent Curator
Will Ruggiero | Independent Curator
Anne-Claire Schmitz | Independent Curator
Claudia Schmuckli | de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco Curator for Contemporary Art
Cara Starke | Pulitzer Arts Foundation Director 
Lorelei Stewart | Gallery 400 University of Illinois at Chicago Director
Irene Sunwoo | Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Director of Exhibitions
Valentine Umansky | Contemporary Arts Center Curator of Lens-Based Arts
Max Weintraub | Aspen Art Museum Senior Curator
Dominic Willsdon | Institute of Contemporary Art Virginia Commonwealth University, Director
Abigail Winograd | Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago Curatorial Fellow
Tanya Zimbardo | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Assistant Curator of Media Arts