Exploring Curatorial Queen Thelma Golden in Artfacts.

May the celebrations of curators continue!

This week we are introducing a new section to the Curator Profile. Finally, with just a brief glance, we are able to find out valuable statistical information about curators too. Just as with Artist and Institution Profiles, you will be able to see the artists that a curator focuses on, by region, gender, and age.

To see just what we can now find out, let’s take a closer look at the distinguished, and oh-so-cool, Thelma GoldenThelma Golden is a shining example of the broad-reaching effect a Curator can have. As the Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem for the past 15 years, (and Deputy Director for Exhibitions for the 5 years beforehand, working together with her idol Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims) it’s very easy to see the ripples from her touch in that time. From her support of emerging artists- thereby cementing many budding careers, her passionate championing of Black artists and the co-coining of the phrase and philosophical movement “Post-Blackness”, to continuing to grow the reputation of the Studio Museum in Harlem; establishing it as a leading arts institution and international destination, and anchoring it in the Harlem community as a center for innovative education and culture.

Aside from her work at the Studio Museum, Golden was also a curator at the Whitney Museum for 10 years, where, in 1994 she organised one of her most groundbreaking exhibitions; “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in American Art”. She also served on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House under Obama for 6 years and is an active lecturer and panelist on contemporary art at numerous institutions.

By looking at our data it’s clear to see her focus on working with American artists, and artists from Africa with our Artists by Region section. With Artists by Gender, she’s worked with 69% male in comparison to 29% female, even though she is credited with being a passionate feminist. With Artists by Age, her focus on building young artists’ careers is also clear with 59% being between the ages of 20-40.

Her most shows are, not surprisingly, at the Studio Museum in Harlem and her most shows with an artist, also not surprisingly are with long-time collaborator Glenn Ligon, in 2014 Golden stated:
“My curatorial practice has been profoundly informed by my 25-year-long conversation with the artist Glenn Ligon. He has singularly shaped how I see, think about and experience the power of art.”

The extent of discourse, and henceforth the potentiality for actionable change encouraged by a skilled curator is endless. Thelma Golden is one of those. Passionate about her culture, about “How Art Gives Shape to Cultural Change” (A 2009 Ted Talk presented by her) but more than anything, passionate about art itself and all that it can achieve.

We hope you enjoy exploring Curators on Artfacts in more depth, as much as we do.