• Curatorial Forum
    Zoe Butt
    Keynote Speaker
    Sep 18, 2019 to Sep 21, 2019
    Independent Curators International

Curatorial Forum keynote speaker Sally Tallant, Chicago, 2016. Courtesy of Independent Curators International.

The 2019 Curatorial Forum offers 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. The 2019 Curatorial Forum features a keynote lecture; five peer-led closed-door Breakout Sessions on urgent topics in the field today; a closing assembly; as well as several activities in partnership with the art fair and Chicago art institutions. A public conversation hosted at the fair elaborates on the ideas examined in one of the closed-door seminars for a broader audience and a luncheon hosted for the participating curators provides a context for the group to meet and share their experiences. In 2019, the Curatorial Forum is developed in conjunction with EXPO Chicago and coincides with the Chicago Architecture Biennial. The relationship between art and architecture is reflected in the keynote lecture, closed-door sessions, and the selection of participating curators.

Zoe Butt is a curator and writer based in Vietnam. Her curatorial practice centers on building critically thinking and historically conscious artistic communities, fostering dialogue among countries of the global south. Currently artistic director of the Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s first purpose-built space for contemporary art, Butt formerly served as executive director and curator, Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City (2009–16); and director, international programs, Long March Project, Beijing (2007–09). 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). Butt 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.

C. Ondine Chavoy, session leader on grace, gender, and representation, 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 (2011–13) with Rita Gonzalez, and Robert Rauschenberg: Autobiography (2016), and Michel Auder: Chronicles and Other Scenes (2004) with Lisa Dorin, assistant curator of media arts at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is primarily focused on film and media arts. Chavoya has worked with and/or exhibited film and media artists including Henderson, Barbara Hammer, Pat O'Neill, Arthur Jaffa, and Martha Rosler.

José Esparza Chong Cuy, session leader on architecture, 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, where he organized solo exhibitions and projects with Jonathas de Andrade, Federico Herrero, Mika Horibuchi, and Tania Pérez Córdova. He is also cocurator of the retrospective exhibition Lina Bo Bardi: Habitat, which is jointly organized between MASP in Sao Paulo, the Museo Jumex in Mexico City, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Previously, he was associate curator at the Museo Jumex.

Sara Raza, session leader on placefulnes, 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 (2016), which travelled to the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Milan (2018). She has also curated the Tashkent Biennial, Uzbekistan and Rhizoma: Saudi Pavilion, Venice Biennale (2013); and the Baku Public Art Festival Azerbaijan (2015). 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, session leader on accessibility, 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, session leader on university galleries, 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 cocurator of the 9th Liverpool Biennial (2016), and curator of public programs at Tate Modern (2000–05). 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).

Independent Curators International (ICI) is a unique arts organization that supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement. We believe that curators create more than exhibitions—they are the arts community leaders and organizers who champion artistic practice; build essential infrastructures, such as art spaces and institutions; and generate public engagement with art. Established in 1975 and based in New York, ICI works with curators and art spaces from around the world to produce and present exhibitions, public programs, as well as professional development initiatives for curators. These collaborative programs connect curators from different regions, backgrounds and generations, across social, political, and cultural borders. They form an international framework for the sharing of knowledge and resources—promoting cultural exchange, broad access to contemporary art, and public awareness for the role of the curator.