Month: December 2016

Curator of the Week: Thelma Golden


Thelma Golden, image by Crain’s New York

I’m constantly making exhibitions in my head.


Thelma Golden is the Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, founded just three years after her birth by a group of activists and philanthropists. The Studio Museum is where she began her career interning while attending Smith College. Ms. Golden was also a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art from 1988 to 1998.


With an ethnocentric focus, Golden has developed the Studio Museum’s presence in the art world at home and abroad, especially in recent years as its visibility has increased through social media. She is an active guest curator, writer, lecturer, juror, and advisor, serving on the Graduate Committee at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and on the boards of Creative Time in New York and the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA) in London. Golden is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and has received numerous accolades, including multiple honorary Doctorates of Fine Arts. In 2014, she was named one of the top 25 most important women in the art world by Artnet, and in 2015 became a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow. She also won the 2016 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence. To put it mildly, Golden is an omnipresent, beloved force.

Known for

At the Whitney, Golden helped organize the racially charged 1993 Biennial and Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary Art (1994–95), both of which proved contentious within and outside of the established artistic community. With a reputation for nurturing emerging talent, Golden joined the Studio Museum once again in 2000, where according to Wikapedia she pioneered “a number of groundbreaking exhibitions, including Isaac Julien: Vagabondia (2000), Martin Puryear: The Cane Project (2000); Glenn Ligon: Stranger (2001); the Freestyle Exhibition (2001); Black Romantic: The Figurative Impulse in Contemporary Art (2002); harlemworld: Metropolis as Metaphor (2004); Chris Ofili: Afro Muses (2005); Frequency (2005–06, with Christine Y. Kim); Africa Comics (2006–07); and Kori Newkirk: 1997–2007 (2007–08).”

Fun Fact

Golden is married to acclaimed fashion designer, Duro Olowu. Read about their relationship here.

Latest Efforts

Recently, Golden has been advising teen girls on School of Doodle, an online education platform, in addition to mentoring her heir apparent, Kimberly Drew, former Studio Museum employee and now Social Media Manager at the Met, better known by her virtual handle, @museummammy. Guided by Golden, Drew has been receiving a lot of press, especially for her tumblr, black contemporary art. But in terms of her own endeavors, Golden is also frequently in the spotlight as the Studio Museum’s name-recognition and target audience has expanded. And she is well on her way to tackling what the WSJ calls Golden’s “biggest challenge yet,” constructing a new $122 million home on West 125th Street for her institution. Prominent Ghanian-British architect, David Adjaye, who devised The National Museum of African American History and Culture along with several others, will lead the project. (more…)

Artist of the Month: Francisco de Goya

Artist of the Month (December)

Francisco de Goya


A Giant Seated in a Landscape, sometimes called “The Colossus” (by 1818), copyright belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art 2016. Not on display.

There is something dark and deeply disturbing about the work of Spanish Romanticist Francisco de Goya (1746-1828). Goya once said that he only had three teachers: nature, Velazquez, and Rembrandt. It is easy to see the penetrative, noirish tones of Rembrandt and the structural depth of Velazquez in his work, but nature? Take, for example, Goya’s Los Caprichos, a series of 80 aquatint and etching prints, and a set called The Disasters of War, considered by art historians “a protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising.” They depict marginal elements of the human narrative: writhing bats and reptilian figures; skeletal, starving people plagued by famine; twisted interactions; bizarre romances; and eerie, mythic monsters. Yet to write these pieces off as dystopian and artificial is fallacious, for the Los Caprichos personas, however fantastical, seem intended as the physical manifestations of mankind’s spiritual demons and gory products of evil gone unabated. (more…)