Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

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Thomas Sokolowski

Courtesy of Visual AIDS.

Courtesy of Visual AIDS.

Thomas Sokolowski (1950–2020) was a museum director, curator, and HIV/AIDS activist. One of his earliest appointments was as Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Chrysler Museum of Art, where he later became Chief Curator. In 1984, Sokolowski become the Director of the Grey Art Gallery at New York University. At the Grey Art Gallery, Sokolowski co-curated From Media to Metaphor: Art About AIDS with Robert Atkins documenting the ways in which artists were responding to the AIDS crisis; From Media to Metaphor toured with ICI in 1992. Sokolowski also reflected on these same themes in Morality Tales: History Painting in the 1980s. The exhibition, which toured with ICI from 1987-1989, linked the tradition of history painting to works being created during the AIDS crisis. In 1988, alongside Robert Atkins, Gary Garrels, and William Olander, Sokolowski founded Visual AIDS, an organization which supports the work and legacy of HIV positive artists and uses art to provoke dialogue around AIDS. With Visual AIDS, Sokolowski played a key role in organizing the first Day Without Art in 1989. The event continues to this day, involving art institutions across the globe. In 1996, Sokolowski left the Grey Art Gallery to serve as Director of the Andy Warhol Museum where he worked until 2010. In 2017 he was appointed Director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. Thomas Sokolowski held a BA from the University of Chicago and a MA from New York University.