2022 Appointments In The Art World

Here are the most exciting 2022 appointments at Toronto Biennale, Buro Stejdelik, White Cube, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Ljubljana Biennale, Queens Museum, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the Liverpool Biennial.

by GRIOT - Published on 27/12/2022
Dominique Fontaine, (Photo: Kétiana Bello) and Miguel A. López (Photo: Daniela Morales) as Curators of Toronto Biennial

Dominique Fontaine and Miguel A. López co-curating the Toronto Biennale’s third edition

Toronto Biennial of Art announced the appointment of Dominique Fontaine and Miguel A. López as co-curators to guide TBA’s exhibition for the third edition of the city-wide art event taking place from September 21 – December 1, 2024.

Dominique Fontaine is a cultural leader, curator, advisor, and strategist on innovation in arts and culture. As a connector, she brings together artists, curators, and the public to enable transformative actions for diversity, equity, and inclusion in contemporary art. Fontaine is a curator and Founding Director of aposteriori, a non-profit curatorial platform – researching, documenting, developing, producing, and facilitating innovation in diverse contemporary art practices.

Fontaine’s recent projects include Imaginaires souverainsLe présent, modes d’emploi, Maison de la culture Janine-Sutto, Montreal, QC; Foire en art actuel de Québec 2020Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art; Fontaine is co-initiator of the Black Curators Forum; a member of AICA-Canada, the American Association of Museum Curators (AAMC), and the International Contemporary Art Curators Association (IKT); and is part of Intervals Collective. Fontaine was a laureate of Black History Month of the City of Montreal 2021.

It’s a great honor to be invited to curate TBA 2024 with Miguel. I’m thrilled for this opportunity to cocreate an event that could resonate with complex issues of our time in relation to the changing realities of Toronto and the praxis of coexistence. I am looking forward to working with artists, who will bring new and fresh ways of thinking and seeing, and the communities as well as TBA’s partners throughout the 2 city. I am enthusiastic and passionate about the next edition of TBA.” – Dominique Fontaine

Miguel A. López is a writer and curator whose practice focuses on the role of art in politics and public life, collective work and collaborative dynamics, and queer and feminist rewritings of history. He worked as chief curator, and later co-director at TEOR/éTica, San José, Costa Rica, from 2015-2020. In 2019, he curated the retrospective exhibition Cecilia Vicuña: Seehearing the Enlightened Failure at the Witte de With (now Kunstinstituut Melly), Rotterdam. The exhibition traveled to Mexico City, Madrid, and Bogota.

I am beyond excited to work with the Toronto team and envision a meaningful 2024 Biennial for the artists, the art ecosystem, and especially for the city. I am looking forward to contributing to the local context and encouraging new collaborations with artists, activists, and cultural workers that are posing urgent questions about what forms art can take in the public sphere. I am devoted to bringing art that challenges, inspires, encourages, and connects us.” – Miguel A. López


Rita Ouédraogo and Azu Nwagbogu are the founding curators of Buro Stedelijk

Rita Ouédraogo. Photo: Anne Lakeman; Azu Nwagbogu. Photo: Paul Odigie

The newly formed Buro Stedelijk announced Rita Ouédraogo and Azu Nwagbogu as its founding curators. The two curators applied for the vacancy as a duo and will take up their position as heads of the new Amsterdam space on December 1, 2022.

Rita Ouédraogo is a curator, programmer, writer and researcher, and was curator and program coordinator at Framer Framed in Amsterdam. She was Research Programmer and (Community) Collaboration Officer at the Research Center for Material Culture of the National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands. Ouédraogo holds a MSc in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam. Her work is informed by her interest in African diaspora, decolonizing institutions, institutional racism, popular culture and social issues. She researches questions related to cooperation and solidarity that explore modes of collaborative practices across power differentials, especially within a decolonial framework.

Azu Nwagbogu is an internationally acclaimed curator, interested in evolving new models of engagement with questions of decolonization, restitution, and repatriation. Nwagbogu’s primary interest is in reinventing the idea of the museum and its role as a civic space for engagement for society at large. The British Royal Photographic Society appointed him as “Curator of Year 2021” and ArtReview included him in the Power 100. Nwagbogu founded the African Artists’ Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2018 and 2019 he directed the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Cape Town. Nwagbogu is the founder and director of the LagosPhoto Festival. He initiated Art Base Africa, a virtual place to discover contemporary African art.

Rita Ouédraogo and Azu Nwagbogu: “We believe that the present and future of the art world requires deeper collaborative practices and we wish to set the examples ourselves. We both come from different parts of the world, different generations and varying expertise. However, these different departure points are bound by our passion and our interest in the value of the labour of art and artists and their relevance for the twenty-first century. We believe in the urgency and power of art and in presenting and cultivating new ideas for the world at this time, perhaps more so than at any point in human history. We aim to go beyond institutional critique into offering new models for social discourse that address the planet’s most urgent contemporary sociopolitical challenges. Our plan is to create opportunities that really support the idea of a multi-dimensional multi-cultural city and also support artists from all over the world who are living and working in Amsterdam by offering them an experimental project space to realize and articulate their ideas.”


Courtney Willis to Lead White Cube Gallery in New York

Courtney Willis Blair- Photo: Myesha Evon Gardner © White Cube

Courtney Willis Blair has been appointed the senior director of White Cube. The British gallery is set to open its first U.S. branch in New York in the fall of next year. Starting in January, Blair will oversee the gallery’s strategy in the U.S. and its programming in New York. In addition, as a member of White Cube’s Global Board of Directors, she will play a key role in shaping the strategy for the gallery internationally.

Blair was formerly a Partner and Senior Director at Mitchell-Innes & Nash (N.Y.), where she led artist canonical strategy and institutional engagement in the US and internationally, from projects at documenta and the São Paulo Biennial, to exhibitions at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Jewish Museum, Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Speed Art Museum.

As a writer and journalist, she has profiled some of the world’s leading artists, architects, and curators. She is the founder of Entre Nous, an international body of Black women art dealers established in 2016, and serves on the boards of The Kitchen, Triple Canopy, and the International Studio & Curatorial Program.

Gaëtane Verna Is The New Executive Director of Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University

Gaëtane Verna

The Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University named Gaëtane Verna as its next executive director. Verna comes to the Columbus institution from the Power Plant in Toronto, where she has since 2012 served as artistic director. She replaces Johanna Burton, who departed the Wexner last fall to helm the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Before arriving at the Power Plant—which, like the Wexner, is a noncollecting contemporary art institution—Verna from 2006 to 2012 served as executive director and chief curator of the Musée d’art de Joliette, one of Quebec’s largest art museums. She was previously curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, from 1999 to 2006, and has taught art history at Bishop’s University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Among the artists for whom she has organized exhibitions over the course of her more-than-twenty-year career are Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Vasco Araújo, Miriam Cahn, Alfredo Jaar, Luis Jacob, Kimsooja, Yam Lau, Oswaldo Maciá, Mario Pfeifer, Javier Téllez, Denyse Thomasos, Bill Viola, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Zineb Sedira, and Franz Erhard Walther. She is a 2017 recipient of the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Gaëtane Verna said: “Through bold inquiry and practice, the Wex embraces its multidisciplinary mission of innovation, education and meaningful engagement and enables us to examine the most pressing and urgent issues of our time. I am both honored and excited to join the staff of the Wex and the board in building on its glorious past and shaping its bright future together.

We are thrilled to welcome Gaëtane Verna to Ohio State and the Wexner Center for the Arts,” said Ohio State executive vice president and provost Dr. Melissa L. Gilliam. “With deep experience in elevating emerging and established artists, she believes strongly in the role of contemporary art as a conduit for exploring important issues and engaging communities. As she joins us in Columbus, she will be bolstered by our talented and dedicated Wex staff and our students, faculty, staff and community that engage with the Wex.


Ibrahim Mahama Appointed Artistic Director of the 35th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts

Ibrahim Mahama on his first visit at the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana. Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.

The artists will explore the history between Ghana and former Yugoslavia, to (re-) establish connections the local Slovenian and international artists.

The recipient of numerous honours including the 2020 Prince Claus Award for outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development, Ibrahim Mahama lives and works in the cities of Accra, Kumasi and Tamale in Northern Ghana, where he was born.

Mahama’s artistic practice has been celebrated around the globe in international exhibitions such as NIRIN, 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020); tomorrow, there will be more of us, Stellenbosch Triennale (2020); inaugural Ghana pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale, Venice (2019); Documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017); and All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015).

Among the remarkable institutions Mahama has founded are Savannah Centre for Contemporary Art (SCCA Tamale), an artist-run cultural repository, exhibition-research hub, and artist residency. Red Clay, in nearby Janna Kpeŋŋ is a vast studio complex where Mahama converted old aeroplanes into classrooms for children. Nkrumah Volin is a renovated silo in Tamale.

In announcing Mahama’s appointment, Nevenka Šivavec, Artistic Director and CEO of MGLC, noted the important ties between Ghana and former Yugoslavia from the 1950s to 1966, when Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, was overthrown in a military coup d’état. Especially important was the shared role of Ghana and Yugoslavia as founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) together with Egypt, India and Indonesia in 1961.

Mahama has long been interested in post-independence infrastructure in Ghana, in buildings that were an expression of Nkrumah’s commitment to make Ghana self-sufficient, but which would later be abandoned. The impact of architects from former Yugoslavia on institutional buildings in Ghana, such as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, was particularly significant during this period. It coincided with the founding of the Ljubljana Biennale in 1955, amid the Cold War, and its desire to transcend national and ideological boundaries.

For Ibrahim Mahama, assuming the role of Artistic Director of the Ljubljana Biennale represents both a challenge, and an opportunity. Not only to explore complex moments of exchange and aspiration but also to reconnect lost moments, or voids, that have appeared in the shared history of Ghana and former Yugoslavia over the passage of time. “I look forward to re-establishing some of these connections within the context of the 35th Ljubljana Biennale,” the artist remarked.


São Paulo Biennale Names A Curatorial Collective

Curators of the 35th Bienal, from left to right: Manuel Borja-Villel, Grada Kilomba, Diane Lima and Hélio Menezes. © Levi Fanan / Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

In March 2022 the Fundação Bienal announced the curatorial team for the 2023 São Paulo Biennial, which will tke place in Fall 2023. For the first time in the history of the Biennial there will be a decentralised curatorial collective, as opposed to a chief curator. This curatorial model, without the figure of a chief curator, was already adopted in the 1989, 2010 and 2014 editions of the Bienal. Entitled Choreographies of the impossible, the 35th Bienal will be lead by Manuel Borja-Villel, Grada Kilomba, Diane Lima and Hélio Menezes.

“The complementarity of these talents has the potential to generate fantastic results,” said José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, president of the Fundação Bienal. “The curatorial team was formed voluntarily and the proposal captivated us for being ambitious and intriguing,” he added. “The idea of ​​forming a group with a horizontal relationship was a suggestion by the team of curators and will be a constituent part of the project for the 35th Bienal”, concludes José Olympio.

Learn more about the curatorial collective.


Lauren Haynes Is The New Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs at Queens Museum

Lauren Haynes. Photo: Rana Young

Lauren Haynes is the Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs at the Queens Museum since July 2022. In this role, Haynes leads the exhibitions and public programs team at the Museum and works with this team and others to develop the overall vision for exhibitions and programs at the Museum. Prior to joining the QM, Haynes worked at museums across the United States including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Haynes is a specialist in contemporary art by artists of African descent. Haynes was a 2018 Center for Curatorial Leadership fellow and a recipient of a 2020 ArtTable New Leadership Award. Since 2022, Haynes has been a member of the board of the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) and AAMC Foundation.

Prior to Crystal Bridges, Haynes spent nearly a decade at the Studio Museum in Harlem. A specialist in contemporary art by artists from the African Diaspora, in her role as Associate Curator for the permanent collection, she oversaw collection care as well as acquisitions and exhibitions. She curated four main space exhibitions, including Alma Thomas (co-curator); Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art; Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of drawing (institutional organizer) and Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange. As Assistant Curator, she organized the Artist-in-Residence program in 2011–12, 2012–13 and 2013–14 and curated over a dozen exhibitions.


Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa appointed the Curator for Contemporary Art of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe

Fadzai Veronica Muchemwa

In January 2022 writer an Curator Fadzai Muchemwa took the curatorial lead of Contemporary Art at one of Harare’s oldest and most important art museums.

This new position was created in order to streamline the Gallery’s Curatorial activities across its three branches, and continuously expanding network.

Muchemwa was a researcher with the Arts of Africa and Global Souths program in the Fine Art Deprtment at Rhodes University, writer and curator operating between Grahamstown, South Africa and Harare, Zimbabwe. Her research explores notions of care in artistic practice, national archival records, social justice, histories of cities, topographies of knowledge production and sites of transition.

She formerly served as Curator for Education and Public Programming at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe from 2017-2020, and Assistant Curator from 2016-2017, where she co-curated Moulding a Nation: The History of the Ceramics Collection of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (2018–2019), Dis(colour)ed Margins (2017), Culture in Communities (2016), and Jazzified: Expressions of Protest (2016). In addition, she curated The Unseen: Creatures of Myth and Legend, an exhibition of artworks by Isaac Kalambata at the Lusaka National Museum in 2018. As visiting curator at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg in 2019, she produced the publication Curating Johannesburg: rest.less, under siege/in transition.

Muchemwa is a 2017 fellow of the International Training Programme at the British Museum who is also a collaborator for Independent Curators International and the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the International Art Exhibition in Venice. She is a founding member of the Practice Theory Collective.


Khanyisile Mbongwa Appointed Curator for Liverpool Biennial

Khanyisile Mbongwa. Photo: Tatyana Levana

Cape Town-based independent curator, artist and sociologist Khanyisile Mbongwa will curate UK’s largest contemporary visual arts festival in 2023. In January 2022 Liverpool Biennial has appointed Khanyisile Mbongwa as Curator for the 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial, which will take place June – September 2023. 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the organisation. Mbongwa, formerly Chief Curator of the Stellenbosch Triennale 2020, will curate the 12th edition with the Liverpool Biennial team.

Mbongwa is the curator of Puncture Points, founding member and curator of Twenty Journey and former Executive Director of Handspring Trust Puppets. She is one of the founding members of arts collective Gugulective, Vasiki Creative Citizens and WOC poetry collective Rioters In Session. Formerly Chief Curator of the 2020 Stellenbosch Triennale, her other recent projects include: Process as Resistance, Resilience & Regeneration – a group exhibition co-curated with Julia Haarmann honoring a decade of CAT Cologne (2020), Athi-Patra Ruga’s solo at Norval Foundation titled iiNyanka Zonyaka (The Lunar Songbook) (2020) and a group exhibition titled History’s Footnote: On Love & Freedom at Marres, House for Contemporary Culture in Maastricht, Netherlands (2021).

Khanyisile Mbongwa, Curator, Liverpool Biennial 2023, said: “I am excited to work with the Liverpool Biennial team on the 12th edition and am curious to find out what the city will show me about my curatorial processes during my time here. I am looking forward to co-creating with individuals, collectives and organisations both within Liverpool and beyond and am interested to see how the city has established itself historically, how it sustains itself in this moment and how it imagines its future.

Sam Lackey, Director, Liverpool Biennial, said: “We are thrilled to have Khanyisile Mbongwa join us for the 12th edition of Liverpool Biennial. Her longstanding curatorial concerns around care and repair will be vital in thinking about new futures together with the city. She is an extraordinary asset to the team and Liverpool as we move towards recovery and build on the innovation and success of The Stomach and the Port. I look forward to welcoming her to Liverpool and working with her and our partners across the city as we look towards our 25th anniversary year”.


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