MoMA PS1’s Christopher Y. Lew will soon take over as Associate Curator of the Whitney Museum.

On 9 July 2014, the Whitney Museum in New York announced the appointment of Christopher Y. Lew as its Associate Curator. Lew comes with a long-standing experience through working at MoMA PS1, and an international perspective and foresight in championing young and emerging artistic talents.

Christopher Y. Lew. Image courtesy Whitney Museum.

Christopher Y. Lew. Image courtesy Whitney Museum.

Championing emerging talent

Christopher Y. Lew has developed strong local and international ties with artists over the years, as well as, an international perspective important to the Whitney Museum’s curatorial vision as it moves into the future.

Previously, Lew was a Curatorial Assistant at MoMA PS1 (2006), and went on to become the Manager of Curatorial Affairs from 2007 to 2011. In 2011, he became MoMA PS1’s Assistant Curator, a position he currently holds.

Earlier in his career, after receiving a BA from New York University in 2003, Lew was Managing Editor of ArtAsiaPacific and has held positions at the Aperture Foundation and the Asian American Arts Centre. He was also a visiting curator at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Reinhart School of Sculpture in 2013, and participated in curatorial panels at NY Live Arts (2013) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (2010).

Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Nancy and Steve Crown Family Curator and Associate Director of Programmes, commented in the announcement press release (PDF download):

Since its founding, the Whitney has played a crucial role in galvanising the conversation around new artists and challenging ideas. Chris’s adventurous and discerning eye has established him as a leading advocate of emerging artists, and we look forward to his contributions to the Whitney’s contemporary program.

In addition to curating seminal solo shows for artists such as James Ferraro, Zackary Drucker, Nancy Grossman and Surasi Kusolwong, Lew’s curatorial experience includes important group exhibitions of young and emerging artistic talents, such as “New Pictures of Common Objects” (2012), “Taster’s Choice”(2014) and the Asia-focused exhibition “Chim↑Pom” (2011).

The Whitney Museum. Photo by Ed Lederman. Image courtesy Whitney Museum.

The Whitney Museum. Photo by Ed Lederman. Image courtesy Whitney Museum.

Expanding the Whitney

Lew’s appointment comes at a time of expansion for the Whitney Museum. Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programmes, said in a statement quoted in ArtAsiaPacific:

We are delighted to welcome Chris Lew as we prepare to move to our new home downtown in the spring of 2015. His close relationship to artists locally and across the United States, paired with his strong international perspective, will be a great asset to the Museum and its audiences at this important transformative moment for the Whitney.

In 2015, the museum’s new downtown Manhattan space designed by Renzo Piano will open on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District with the largest display to date of its permanent collection (PDF download). The exhibition will be curated by Donna De Salvo and a team of Whitney curators, including Carter Foster, Dana Miller and Scott Rothkopf.

Recently, in April 2014, the Whitney also announced its participation with four other museums based in the United States – the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Dallas Museum and the National Art Gallery – in “Art Everywhere”, the largest outdoor art exhibition ever presented in the country (PDF download).

Lew’s curatorial vision for championing new talent and working with established ones internationally will add to this time of development for the museum. The young curator says in the press release:

The Whitney is enjoying an exciting time of growth, and I am thrilled and honoured to join the Museum as it prepares to return downtown. I look forward to being part of such a renowned institution, to working with the Whitney’s esteemed staff and continuing to engage with artists who have helped to shape and define art in the United States and beyond.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related Topics: museums, emerging artists, curatorial practice, curators, new institutional appointments, events in the USA

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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