5 Up-And-Coming Curators to Watch in 2017


It has never been easier for artists to show their work to the general public. And while there is a great deal of good art to be found, there’s also a lot of bad. That’s why, now more than ever, the role of the curator is so necessary in filtering out the noise and emphasising exemplary works and ideas. As we get ready to bid 2016 farewell, it’s the perfect time to focus on the fresh talents getting everyone excited for the new year. Here, we highlight five interesting up-and-coming curators to get excited about in 2017.



Cradle Selfie by Ben Vickers

Ben Vickers

As much a social activist as he is an art-world extraordinaire, Ben Vickers sees curation as making an active difference in changing the world. His contribution to the transmediale “anxious to share” stream helped to create a space that “imagines and evidences something different”, while “shifting the conversation away from purely rationalised and utilitarian perspectives on what emerging technologies and ecologies might mean to us on spaceship earth.” His upcoming projects the include LARP convention Kuntepunkt in Norway, as well as his ongoing work at the Serpentine Gallery.



Nadim Samman. Photo: Press Office V Moscow International Biennale for Young Art

Nadim Samman

The Berlin-based Nadim Samman has been making waves this year, curating events as diverse as PRELUDE: A Preview of Aurora 2017 and the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. With an emphasis on what he terms as the technological implications of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution that is altering every facet of life“, Samman has been revolutionising the concept of exhibitionism, staging many events in hard-to-reach locations across the world. As an emblematic example of his style, the “Treasure of Lima” exhibition took place on a remote island in Costa Rica, using the concept of the treasure hunt to create “a full-spectrum project, engaging with physical place, history, myth, market, desire, law and ecology.”



Naimi Keith. Photo Credit: California African American Museum
Naimi Keith. Photo Credit: California African American Museum

Naima Keith

Beginning as an intern at the Studio Museum before becoming an associate curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, Naima J. Keith took over this year as the deputy director of the California African-American museum. A publicly-funded museum that has been struggling to find funds since the recession, her appointment has been described by the LA Times as a great way to raise its national profile. Executive Director George Davis said of the choice: “She was so impressive. And I really feel that the California African American Museum will have a great vision as a result of her presence.” Her previous curations include “Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989” which was the first survey of his work, and “Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street”.



Taylor Renne Aldridge. Photo Credit: Detroit Institute Of Arts.
Taylor Renne Aldridge. Photo Credit: Detroit Institute Of Arts.

Taylor Renee Aldridge

Recently hired at the Detroit Institute Of Arts as assistant curator, Taylor Renee’s work is marked by her focus on the intersectional relationship of race, sex, gender and class. With a firm belief that the art world should be appreciated by all, her previous projects see her opening art up to previously under-appreciated perspectives. For example, in 2015, she set up Arts.Black as a means to focus exclusively on black art and black perspectives in the arts world. As the Detroit Institute looks to reinvigorate itself in the coming years, Aldridge’s appointment shows a firm commitment to, as The Detroit Free Press puts it, “reaching deeper into metro Detroit’s ethnically diverse community, broadening audiences and harnessing the energy of the city’s burgeoning art scene.”



Elisa Linn and Lennart Wolff. Photo Trevor Good

KM Temporaer

KM Temporaer, aka couple and art duo Elisa Linn and Lennart Wolff, have been together since the age of 14, giving them an almost telepathic relationship. As Linn says, “You often know in advance what the other is thinking.” Interested in the tentative relationship between the digital and physical art worlds, they say their curation is “not about seeking definitive answers according to a fixed thesis, but about creating discourse and awareness”.  Their previous curations such as “Cos only Difference can return my friend” in New York and “Surplus Living” at Alte Münze in Berlin, reveal an ambition to question the way in which forms of social interaction and art are commodified within a commercial framework.




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