Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in conversation with Julia Bryan-Wilson, at The Lab on Saturday, November 11, 2017.
Thank you to The Lab for hosting this event, and to Julia Bryan-Wilson, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of California, Berkeley, for moderating.
Helen Molesworth is the Chief Curator at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, where she recently curated the first US retrospective of the Brazilian artist Anna Maria Maiolino and the monographic survey Kerry James Marshall: Mastry. From 2010–2014 she was the Barbara Lee Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston, where she assembled one person exhibitions of artists Steve Locke, Catherine Opie, Josiah McElheny, and Amy Sillman, and the group exhibitions Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957, Dance/Draw, and This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s. As head of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Harvard Art Museum, she presented an exhibition of photographs by Moyra Davey and ACT UP NY: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis 1987–1993. From 2002–2007 she was the Chief Curator of Exhibitions at the Wexner Center for the Arts, where she organized the first US retrospectives ofLouise Lawler and Luc Tuymans, as well as Part Object Part Sculpture, which examined the influence of Marcel Duchamp’s erotic objects. While Curator of Contemporary Art at The Baltimore Museum of Art from 2000–2002, she arranged Work Ethic, which traced the problem of artistic labor in post-1960s art. She is the author of numerous catalogue essays and her writing has appeared in publications such as Artforum, Art Journal, Documents, and October. The recipient of the 2011 Bard Center for Curatorial Studies Award for Curatorial Excellence, she is currently at work on an ambitious exhibition inspired by the American painter and film critic Manny Farber and his 1962 essay, “White Elephant vs. Termite Art.”
The Lab believes that if we give artists enough time, space, and funding to realize their vision, the work they produce will change the way we experience the world and each other. These propositions challenge the familiar ways we perceive value, and so we seek out extraordinary artists who are underrepresented as a result of gender, class, race, sexuality, or geography, and whose work is not easily defined and therefore monetized. As a site of constant iteration and indeterminacy, The Lab is, above all, a catalyst for artistic experimentation. The Lab is a nonprofit arts space, founded in San Francisco in 1984.