EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, announces participants and partners in the fifth annual Curatorial Forum to take place during the eighth annual exposition (September 19 – 22, 2019). In addition, EXPO CHICAGO presents an expansion of the Curatorial Exchangeprogram through continuing representation from Denmark, France, Italy and the Netherlands alongside new representation from Brazil, Canada, and Spain, allowing international curators to engage with the 135 exhibitors from 24 countries and 68 cities participating in EXPO CHICAGO. In addition to these partnerships, EXPO CHICAGO continues its commitment to fostering international discourse between global cultures and the greater Midwest through the inaugural partnership with Red Bull Arts Detroit to launch the Global Curatorial Initiative—a multi-city, fully funded curatorial program within the artistic and cultural contexts of both Chicago and Detroit.


“EXPO CHICAGO’s unprecedented programs for national and international curators have become cornerstones of the fair’s programming and reflect the fair’s commitment to supporting the curatorial field and fostering international exchange in the Midwest.” said EXPO CHICAGO Managing Director of Partnerships Mia Khimm. “As we continue to grow as an international art fair, we see these unique opportunities for curators to connect with their peers and to the vast network of galleries, institutions and artists convening around EXPO CHICAGO as critical to our continued success.”


Curatorial Forum


Developed by EXPO CHICAGO and Independent Curators International (ICI), the Curatorial Forum offers a group of mid-career and established curators the opportunity to engage with their peers and explore urgent issues related to curating, programming, institution-building and audience engagement. The Curatorial Forum will once again feature invitational sessions focusing on questions critical to contemporary curatorial practice today. These conversations will be facilitated by leaders with international recognition in the field and culminate in a Closing Assembly.


Curatorial Forum Highlights


A keynote discussion for Curatorial Forum participants, Chicago professionals and other visiting curators, will be presented by Zoe Butt (Artistic Director, The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City), followingJochen Volz (Director, Pinacoteca de São Paulo, 2018); Jesús Carrillo (Independent Curator, 2017); and Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial, 2016).


This year, the Curatorial Forum expands upon its ongoing partnership with the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, a collaboration that shapes the forum experience and allows for deeper engagement with citywide art and architecture, coinciding with both the eighth annual exposition and the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The Graham Foundation will once again host the Curatorial Forum, and will build upon its longstanding partnership by supporting the participation of nine architecture curators in a session focused on architecture led by Executive Director and Chief Curator of Storefront for Art and Architecture José Esparza Chong Cuy.


At the core of the Forum, a series of peer-led breakout sessions explore urgent topics in the field today, including “Race, Gender and Representation,” led by Williams College Professor of Art History and Latina/o Studies C. Ondine Chavoya; “Architecture,” led by Executive Director and Chief Curator of Storefront for Art and Architecture José Esparza Chong Cuy; “Placefulness,” led by independent curator Sara Raza; “Accessibility,” led by Director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation Cara Starke; and “Modern Museum in the Global Modern,” led by Director of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Dominic Asmall Willsdon; among others. This year the Curatorial Forum will conclude with an assembly to foster regional professional networks and collaborations across the contemporary cultural landscape.  


Considered one of the premiere curatorial training opportunities in the nation, the Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellowship at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is intended to offer an exceptional graduate-level candidate the opportunity to gain professional curatorial experience in a major museum setting. In celebration of the program’s twentieth anniversary, four former Curatorial Fellows will be fully integrated into the 2019 Curatorial Forum and take part in a panel discussion that explores the impact that the Susman Fellowship has had on the professional development and careers of its alumni and on the Museum of Contemporary Art more broadly.


“My goal in creating the Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellowship at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago was to provide a needed access point for young curators to one of the greatest contemporary art institutions in the world,” said Marjorie Susman. “Twenty year later, I am in awe of the work that these curators have gone on to accomplish, and see no better way to share these experiences with a global community of contemporary art curators than through EXPO CHICAGO’s Curatorial Forum.”.


The participating Susman alumni include Grace Deveney (Assistant Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago); Diana Nawi (Independent Curator and co-curator of Prospect 5, New Orleans); Heather Pesanti(Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Contemporary Austin); and Abigail Winograd (Curator, Smart Museum of Art MacArthur Fellows Program 40th Anniversary Exhibition).


“The Curatorial Forum is a rare opportunity for curators from across the United States to convene during EXPO CHICAGO, sharing knowledge and experiences among peers and to discuss some of the most urgent questions faced by American art institutions today,” said ICI Executive Director Renaud Proch. “Last year, the forum brought together 30 curators from 18 states. We are proud to continue building on this collaboration with EXPO CHICAGO, and to expand it this year with a partnership with the Graham Foundation to engage the field of art and architecture.”


In addition to the session leaders and keynote speaker, confirmed 2019 Curatorial Forum participants to date include: 


Wassan Al-Khudhairi | Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis Chief Curator
Mark Beasley | Hirshhorn Museum Curator of Media and Performance Art
Joseph Becker | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Associate Curator of Architecture and Design
Giovanna Borasi | Canadian Centre for Architecture Chief Curator
Maite Borjabad | Art Institute of Chicago Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design
Anthony Carfello | Independent Curator
C. Ondine Chavoya | Williams College Professor of Art History and Latina/o Studies
Dina Deitsch | Tufts University Art Galleries Director and Chief Curator
Don Desmett | Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Interim Curator
Grace Deveney | Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Assistant Curator
Jose Esparza | Storefront for Art and Architecture Director
Catherine Futter, Ph.D | Nelson Atkins Museum of Art Director of Curatorial Affairs
Beatrice Galilee | Metropolitan Museum of Art Associate Curator of Architecture and Design
Kimberli Gant | Chrysler Museum of Art Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art
Jia Gu | Materials & Applications Director and Curator
Mary Heathcott | Blue Star Contemporary Executive Director
Carmen Hermo | Brooklyn Museum Associate Curator of Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
Kaytie Johnson | San Diego History Center Bruce Kammerling Curator
Storm Junge van Rensberg | Savannah College of Art and Design Head Curator
Emily A. Kuhlmann | Museum of the African Diaspora Director of Exhibitions & Curatorial Affairs
Leslie Laird Luebbers | Art Museum of the University of Memphis Director
Diana Nawi | Independent Curator
Bill North | Salina Art Center Director and Director of Education & Programming
Monica Obinski | Milwaukee Art Museum Demmer Curator of 20th and 21st Century Design
Meg Onli | Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia Assistant Curator
Marina -Teresa Otero Verzier | Architect, Het Nieuwe Instituut Director of Research
Heather Pesanti | The Contemporary Austin Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs
Sara Raza | Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Curator
Anne-Claire Schmitz | La Loge Director and Curator
Claudia Schmuckli | Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Curator-in-Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming; de Young Museum Curator for Contemporary Art
Cara Starke | Pulitzer Arts Foundation Director
Irene Sunwoo | Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Director of Exhibitions
Valentine Umansky | Contemporary Arts Center Curator of Lens-Based Arts
Max Weintraub | Aspen Art Museum Senior Curator
Dominic Willsdon | Institute of Contemporary Art Virginia Director
Abigail Winograd | Smart Museum of Art MacArthur Fellows Program 40th Anniversary Exhibition Curator

Tanya Zimbardo | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Assistant Curator of Media Arts

Support of the 2019 Curatorial Forum is provided by Heritage Auctions; Marjorie and Ambassador Louis Susman/the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Art; the Tremaine Foundation; Willis Towers Watson; and Terry Dowd Incorporated.