Serpentine Galleries

Yesomi Umolu Is the New Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice

Aimed at making Serpentine programmes more inclusive and accessible to all audiences, Yesomi Umolu will take up her new role in January 2021.

Yesomi Umolu. Photo: Nicolette Nunez.

Yesomi Umolu. Photo: Nicolette Nunez.

The Serpentine announces the appointment of Yesomi Umolu as Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice. Umolu will oversee the Serpentine’s curatorial, interpretation and editorial activities across all programmes.

“As a Londoner and curator with an interdisciplinary background, I have long admired the Serpentine Galleries’ ground-breaking work in supporting innovative ideas across contemporary art, architecture and civic engagement. I am eager to partner with the Serpentine’s team, its audiences and artists to envision new forms of creativity and community building that can shepherd us through the profound changes facing our city and the world at large.”, says Yesomi Umolu.

The creation of this new position is at the head of the Serpentine’s efforts to centre audience experience and civic engagement in its curatorial mission. Under Umolu’s direction, the Serpentine will develop editorial and educational content for exhibitions, events and other curatorial initiatives, aimed at making Serpentine programmes more inclusive and accessible to all audiences, both physical and digital.

Yesomi Umolu is currently Director and Curator, Logan Center Exhibitions at the University of Chicago, where she leads an ambitious programme of international contemporary art. Umolu also teaches courses in contemporary visual art and spatial practices as lecturer in the humanities division. She was Artistic Director of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial (2018-2020), where she oversaw a critically-acclaimed curatorial and community programme. She has also held curatorial positions at the MSU Broad Museum, Walker Art Center, and Manifesta 8, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art. She has worked on key solo exhibitions and commissioned projects with Assemble, Ursula Biemann and Paulo Tavares, John Akomfrah, Mike Cloud, Mariana Castillo Deball, Kapwani Kiwanga, Candice Lin, Harold Mendez, Camille Norment, Karthik Pandian and Andros Zins-Browne, among others. She has edited and contributed to numerous publications and is also a 2016 recipient of the prestigious Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts Curatorial Fellowship.

Bettina Korek, CEO, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, said:
“With an excellent record of commissioning interdisciplinary programming, Yesomi brings outstanding ideas and experience to the Serpentine. Yesomi’s appointment reinforces a structural trajectory for the organisation that fuses curatorial affairs and public practice. We are excited to work with her to innovate around centring audience experience and community engagement in all that we do.”




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