Whitney Museum

Adrienne Edwards appointed Curator of Performance

The Whitney Museum in New York has appointed Adrienne Edwards as the museum’s new Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance Art starting May. 

Curator Adrienne Edwards. Photo by Whitney Browne.

Curator Adrienne Edwards. Photo by Whitney Browne.

Edwards has served as curator of Performa since 2010 and as Curator at Large for the Walker Art Center since 2016.

“Adrienne has distinguished herself as one of the most innovative curators working in performance today by engaging artists across diverse disciplines and often challenging them to explore new genres and experimental forms,” Scott Rothkopf, deputy director for programs and chief curator at the Whitney Museum, said in a statement. “She brings to the Whitney a wonderful complement of scholarly rigor, social commitment, and a deeply humane understanding of artists and their audiences.”

For Performa, Edwards realized new interdisciplinary projects and special thematic presentations including last year’s“AFROGLOSSIA” , which focused on African performance art and featured Teju Cole, Wangechi Mutu, Julie Mehretu and Jason Moran, and Tracey Rose, among others. Edwards has helped engineer partnerships with New York institutions such as the Anthology Film Archives, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. Edwards also oversaw Performa’s institutional partnerships and co-commissioning relationships with Anthology Film Archives, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

At the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, over the course of the past two years, Edwards has worked within the Walker’s visual arts department developing and implementing artist projects and exhibitions, and expanding interdisciplinary scholarship and research while making key contributions to the Walker’s acquisitions planning. She is currently organizing Jason Moran’s first-ever monograph and museum show, which will go on view at the Walker in April before it travels to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the Wexner Center for the Arts. The exhibition will feature a full-range of the interdisciplinary artist’s works, including musical compositions, sculptural works, media installations, and his many collaborations with visual artists such as Stan Douglas, Joan Jonas, Glenn Ligon, and Lorna Simpson.

Other curatorial projects have included the critically acclaimed exhibition and catalogue “Blackness in Abstraction,” which was hosted by Pace Gallery in 2016. Edwards is also organizing Frieze’s Artist Award and Live program, both of which are debuting in New York in 2018.

In addition to writing essays for numerous exhibition catalogues, Edwards has been a contributor to a variety of art publications, including Aperture, Art in America, Artforum.com, Parkett, and Spike Art Quarterly.

Commenting on her new role at the Whitney, Edwards said: “There could not be a more vital institution or more important time to foster artists’ cross-boundary work, as well as explore the histories and scenes that inspire them. The Whitney has long been a leading institution for artists’ experimentation in vanguard performance. I look forward to further expanding and driving forward this rich legacy in collaboration with colleagues, artists, and audiences in new and exciting directions.”



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