Alumni Seminar

Image Caption: Alumni joined by ICI's Renaud Proch and Monica Terrero

This week, 13 alumni from one of the first Curatorial Intensives held in 2010 participated in a seminar via Zoom. Dialing in from Mexico City, Lansing, Belgrade, Dublin, Lagos, New York City, Columbus, Toronto, Plovdiv, Portland, Porto, Wilmington, and Tel Aviv, the discussion included: David Ayala-Alfonso, Steven L. Bridges, Maja Ćirić, Oyinda Fakeye, Michele Horrigan, Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva, Frances Loeffler, Mack McFarland, Katy Reis, Legacy Russell, Maayan Sheleff, Paula Silva, and Margaret Winslow.

The group reconnected to think collectively through some of the urgent questions that have arisen in the past month, and their responses to the needs of artists and audiences. The conversation focused on the pressures the creative community currently faces to create COVID-19 related content, how organizations and institutions are pressured to produce digital content within sharp deadlines and questions on how to adequately support artists in these trying times. This is the first of a series of think-tanks, online forums, and peer-to-peer advisement groups that have been developed to address the needs of ICI’s network of collaborators now, and in the months to come. A report will be published on our Website in the coming week.

April 9, 2020 - April 15, 2020


David Ayala-Alfonso

David Ayala-Alfonso is a Colombian Curator, Artist, and Researcher working between Bogotá and London. He is a guest curator at the traveling exhibitions program of Independent Curators International, and part of the editorial teams of Journal of Visual Culture, Cultural Anthropology and {{em_rgencia}. Ayala-Alfonso has been Curator in Residence and Academic Coordinator at FLORA ars+natura in Bogotá, and lectured in different art schools in the US and Colombia. He has published books and articles on interface theory, Latin American art history, artist-run spaces, performance studies, visual studies, urban sociology, anthropology of education and artistic interventions in the public realm. He is also an occasional collaborator for different academic publications as a writer and a translator. Recent work as a curator and as part of the art collective Grupo 0,29 has been featured at Museos de Arte at Banco de la República in Bogotá, South London Gallery, the David Rockefeller Center at Harvard University, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, Concordia University in Montreal, Columbia College in Chicago, and Centro Cultural La Moneda in Santiago. He has been awarded the Fulbright Grant, the AICAD post-graduate Teaching Fellowship, the ICI-Dedalus Award for Curatorial Research and the Early-concept Grant for Exploratory Research at SAIC. Ayala-Alfonso holds a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Specialization in Art Education from the National University of Colombia, and is preparing publications on critical heritage, and art in the public realm to be released in 2019.

Steven L. Bridges

Steven L. Bridges is Associate Curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. Most recently, Bridges curated the major exhibition Oscar Tuazon: Water School, and co-curated the exhibitions Michel Parmentier and Michigan Stories: Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw. Presently he is working on a major exhibition of the work of Katrín Sigurðardóttir to open at the museum in the fall of 2019. Other notable projects include Beyond Streaming: A Sound Mural for Flint, a residency and exhibition for which artist Jan Tichy was invited to respond to the Flint water crisis. Previously, Bridges was the Curatorial Assistant at the MCA Chicago where he curated solo exhibitions of the work of artists Faheem Majeed and Jason Lazarus. He also assisted the major retrospective exhibition of the work of Doris Salcedo, which traveled to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. From 2011–15, Bridges co-curated the annual Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival in Chicago. His essays and articles have been published in numerous journals and in exhibition catalogues and other online and print media. In 2017 he was named a curatorial fellow at the FACE Foundation.

Maja Ćirić

Maja Ćirić is an award-winning curator and art critic with experience in leading and contributing to international projects. Maja was the curator of the Mediterranea 18 Young Artists Biennale, in Tirana, Albania (2017), and has been both the curator (2007) and the commissioner (2013) of the Serbian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Maja holds a PhD in Art Theory (Thesis: “Institutional Critique and Curating”) from the University of Arts in Belgrade. Her recent speaking engagements have been, among others, at Oberliht (2020), MAC VAL (2017), the Centre Pompidou (2018), and the MNAC Bucharest (2018). Her most recent writings appeared in Obieg, Artforum, Artmargins Online, Archive books, Revolver Publishing. Maja’s areas of expertise span from the geopolitical and the curatorial through curating as a practice of institutional critique. Maja thinks about the art world in terms of criticality and post-globalism and is currently working on two exhibitions examining artificial intelligence in the context of art+science, commissioned by the Serbian Center for the Promotion of Science in partnership with the EU AI Lab (July, 2020, Belgrade, Serbia & Trieste, Italy).

Oyinda Fakeye

Oyindamola is currently the West African Arts Associate Consultant for the British Council and was the co-curator of the Lagos Biennial II ‘How to Build a Lagoon with Just a Bottle of Wine’ (2019). She sits on the board of the Arts in Medicine Project and is the 2019/2020 Director for the Arts in Medicine fellowship, which trains 100 artists and health professionals annually on a variety of art practices for use in healthcare settings.

She has previously worked with the Southbank Centre, the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos and in 2009 cofounded the Video Art Network Lagos (VAN, Lagos) a New Media Art organisation focused on providing a platform for learning, international exchange and promotion of local artists.

Oyindamola’s interest lie in experiential learning and participatory experiences through the arts and entrepreneurship within the creative industries.

Michele Horrigan

Michele Horrigan is an artist and curator whose practice revolves around the legacies and potentials of environment and site. She employs video and photography in an investigative manner to research and represent hidden or overlooked narratives, creating new forms of knowledge in the process. Horrigan has considered the role of bauxite refining and its environmental consequences in her ongoing Stigma Damages, while other projects such as Where Does The Law Stand With Leprechauns? probe how mythology and Hollywood movies have created surprising real-life narratives both in Ireland and the United States.

Her curatorial energies have an emphasis on working with artists in site-specific or context-led roles. Since 2006 she is founder and director of Askeaton Contemporary Arts (ACA), facilitating artist residencies, exhibitions and publication production in rural southwest Ireland. Many ACA projects have been presented throughout the world in exhibitions, art biennials and film festivals. Horrigan is editor and publisher of ACA Public, an independent press established since 2014. Her writing, essays and articles have been commissioned for among others, Mousse Publishing and Bomb Magazine.

Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva

Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva (b. 1977) is an art critic and curator in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She holds a master’s degree in art history (2003) from the National Academy of Arts, Sofia. Her PhD thesis is on Socialist Realism in Bulgarian art in the 1950s and 1960s. The research focuses on the theory of the Socialist Realism, its interpretations by the Bulgarian artists in the period of Stalinist model dictatorship in Bulgaria and the mechanisms to exercise political control in the fine arts.
From 2003 to 2013 Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva worked as chief curator of the Credo Bonum Gallery, one of Sofia’s most reputable noncommercial art spaces. Since 2013 she has been working as a senior expert at the State Institute for Culture – an Associate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Currently Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva is working as artistic director of Plovdiv 2019 – European Capital of Culture.
She is a committed art critic and an independent consultant on contemporary art for several Bulgarian weekly and monthly publications.
In 2008 Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva co-founded the Art Affairs and Documents Foundation (A.A.D.F.), independent association of curators in Sofia.
In her institutional and independent curatorial practice, Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva is most interested in the art in public realm, and in new generation of artists who engage with contemporary social and political contexts. Through her curatorial work she encourage critical reflections on contemporary politics by organizing discussions and helping artists produce new works.
She has attended trainings, residencies, and courses in Belgrade, Skopje, Berlin, Vienna, New York, Paris, Gwangju.

Frances Loeffler

Frances Loeffler is Curator at Oakville Galleries, Toronto. Prior to this, she has held positions at White Cube, London, and the Liverpool Biennial. In 2009, she was Visiting Curator at the research and commissioning agency Situations in Bristol and in 2011 she was Guest Researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. She writes frequently for a number of art journals internationally.

Mack McFarland

Mack McFarland is an artist and has worked as Curator for Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, Oregon since 2006. Currently McFarland is the Director of the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture at PNCA. Some of his exhibitions at PNCA have included commissioned projects of new works from tactical media practitioners Critical Art Ensemble, Eva and Franco Mattes, and Disorientalism.  He has also curated a review of Luc Tuymans’s printed works, a group exhibit marking the centennial of John Cage’s birth, and a comprehensive look at the process of the comic journalist Joe Sacco.  McFarland’s currently questing how exhibitions and artworks can meaningfully link to our shared experience of existing together, and have a social and political impact within the ongoing process of history.

Katy Reis

Katy Reis is the owner and founder of Reis Art Advisory, a full-service art advisory firm specializing in acquisitions and collections management based in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to founding her firm, Katy held positions in the curatorial and exhibition departments at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Washington Project for the Arts, and the Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University.

She has written essays on the work of Alyson Shotz, Diana Thater, and Gustavo Godoy which have appeared in exhibition guides at the Wexner Center for the Arts. She was also a contributor to the exhibition catalogue Josiah McElheny: Towards a Light Club. In 2012, Katy served as a curator for the Washington Project for the Arts Exhibition and Art Auction Gala.

Legacy Russell

Legacy Russell is a writer, artist, and curator. Born and raised in New York City, she is the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Russell holds a dual-major B.A. with Honors from Macalester College in Art History & Studio Art and English & Creative Writing with a focus in Gender Studies, and an MRes in Art History with Distinction from Goldsmiths, University of London with a focus in Visual Culture. Her academic, curatorial, and creative work focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, internet idolatry, and new media ritual.

Russell’s written work, interviews, and essays have been published internationally. Her first book, #GLITCHFEMINISM, is forthcoming from Verso Books.

Instagram: @ellerustle

Maayan Sheleff

Maayan Sheleff is the artistic advisor of The Art Cube Artists’ Studios in Jerusalem and the curator of its international residency program, LowRes Jerusalem. She was the curator at CCA Tel Aviv and the assistant director of its curatorial studies program. Her projects take a reflexive approach towards participation and activism. She is currently studying for a Practice-Based PHD at the Curatorial platform, the University of Reading (UK) and Zhdk (CH), exploring the use of the voice in participatory practices, in relation to protest movements of the last decade. Some of her recent projects include “Voice Over” at the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, Holland (opens October 2020) and “(Un)commoning Voices and (Non)communal Bodies” for Reading: International, UK (2019). Sheleff curated exhibitions in various institutions and in the public sphere, among them at the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Madre museum in Naples, Shift festival in Basel, Herzliya Museum, Israel, and the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem. She was co-curator of the first Tel Aviv- Yaffo biennial (ARTLV 2009). She teaches in Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem, and lectured as a guest in many other academic institutions, among them Stockholm University, School of Visual Arts, NY, The Graduate Center at the City University of New York, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem,Tel Aviv University and others. She is on the advisory board of OnCurating.

Some of her recent publications include:

Rendering Borders- curatorial text for Morehshin Allahyari and Lior Zalmanson’s exhibition catalogue, Art Cube Artists’ Studios, 2018.

Fear and Love in Graz, (in:) Empty Stages, Crowded Flats. Performativity as Curatorial Strategy, performing urgency #4, Editors Florian Malzacher and Janna Warsza, House on Fire publishing, 2017.

The Infiltrators - Crossing Borders With Participatory Art, (in:) Refugees and Cultural Education- Formats and strategies for a new field of practice, editors Caroline Gritschke and Maren Ziese, Transcript publishing, Germany, 2016

The Chosen People - A Small Guide For a Big Revolution, a conversation with The Yes Men’s Andy Bichlbaum, Tohu online magazine, January 2016.

Paula Silva

Paula Silva is an independent curator based in Tasmania, Australia, where she curated a number of projects including Made Public (2007); Commonplace (2009), in collaboration with Dr. Rowland Atkinson from the House and Community Research Unit, University of Tasmania; Clarendon House (2009), a site-specific exhibition presented in a historical house museum part of the Trust series, produced by the University of Tasmania in collaboration with National Trust Tasmania and the festival Ten Days on The Island; and Expand/Contract (2009), an event and exhibition produced for the off-site program of Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania. She was Associate Curator in the public art series Iteration Again – commission to Spanish artist Ruben Santiago (2011), working with Head Curator David Cross from Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.

Current curatorial work includes CBD Branch of the Country Women’s Association (2011- ), an ongoing public art project that investigates modes of participation and audience constituency.  Her interest in alternative exhibition development methodologies and art practice outside traditional gallery contexts led her to commence doctoral research at the University of Tasmania in 2008. She was the Deputy Director of the Tasmanian Artists Run Initiative INFLIGHT (2009-2011) and coordinated the International Exhibition Exchange Program (2008-2011). The program presented international emerging contemporary art to Tasmanian audiences and expanded emerging Tasmanian artists’ professional networks. Paula is an alumni of ICI Curatorial Intensive (Fall 2010).

Margaret Winslow

Margaret Winslow currently lives and works in Wilmington, Delaware where she is the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Delaware Art Museum. She has curated for the Neuberger Museum of Art and The Delaware Contemporary and assisted with exhibits for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Recent exhibitions at the Delaware Art Museum include Black Survival Guide, or How to Live Through a Police Riot, a 2018 commission by Hank Willis Thomas; Truth & Vision: 21st Century Realism; Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington 1970–1990; and Retro-Active: Performance Art from 1964–1987. Margaret has served as an evaluator for the Headlands Center for the Arts, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Delaware, and a radio host for Art Watch on WCHE 1520 AM. Public presentations include talks at the Beijing American Center in China, College Art Association, and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums. Margaret holds a BA in Art History from the University of Mary Washington and an MA in Modern and Contemporary Art, Theory, and Criticism from SUNY Purchase College.

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