The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, has announced that it is promoting Adrienne Edwards from Engell Speyer Curator and curator of performance to director of curatorial affairs. In her new leadership role, awarded her in recognition of her contributions to the museum and to the broader field of the arts, she will form part of the team charged with the museum’s strategic planning. She will work alongside Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s senior deputy director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator in overseeing the curatorial department and molding the museum’s artistic direction. Retaining her title as Engell Speyer Curator, she will additionally continue to direct the Whitney’s performance program. Edwards will take on her new role July 1.
“Adrienne is one of the great visionaries in our field who truly understands both artists and institutions,” said Rothkopf in a statement. “She has already made a transformative impact on the Whitney, and now will not only helm our performance program but will also bring her deep knowledge, innovative practice, and collaborative spirit to the Whitney’s leadership team. I thank her predecessor Emily Russell for her sixteen years of extraordinary service to the museum.”
Before coming to the Whitney, Edwards was curator at large at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center from 2016 to 2018, co-leading the Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Initiative there. From 2010 to 2018, she served as a curator of Performa, and in 2016 she organized the lauded “Blackness in Abstraction” show at New York’s Pace Gallery, editing the accompanying catalogue. Since arriving at the Whitney, she has curated “Jason Moran” and “Moved by the Motion” (both 2019); this year, she curated the forthcoming Dave McKenzie solo show, the artist’s first at a major institution, and is part of the team working on David Hammons’s forthcoming Day’s End, a structure that will occupy Hudson River Park. She is additionally overseeing a survey celebrating the twentieth anniversary of performance trio My Barbarian.
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“I am very much looking forward to taking on this new, more institutional role, and deepening and expanding my involvement in the Whitney’s artistic program at a moment when so many dynamic projects are underway and forthcoming,” said Edwards in a statement. “I’m thrilled to continue working with my colleagues on the curatorial team in this larger capacity and collaborating to advance their individual and our collective ideas, voices, and perspectives, and those of the artists.”
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