(Photo © Ilya Popenko)
I am Georgia-born and New York-based curator, writer and researcher. My undergraduate degrees are from Tbilisi State University and Mount Holyoke College, both in International Relations and Gender Studies. I am candidate for MA in Museums Studies at City University of New York. My previous working experience includes United Nations, Columbia University as well as various nongovernmental organizations, with focus on political or sociological research.
Over the last three years I have been invited to participate in various projects with the focus on contemporary painting and photography, women artists, gender imbalance. My first book, “King is Female,” telling the story of three acclaimed female Georgian artists and their journey inside the male-dominated world of societal and artistic traditions was published by Wienand Verlag in Berlin, October 2018 in conjunction with Kornfeld Gallery, Berlin and launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair. You can find more information about the book in My Books section of this website.
From March 2019 to May 2020 I have been selected and worked as Curator-in-Residence at Kunstraum, Brooklyn-based art hub that serves as a multidisciplinary platform for daring and envelope-pushing curatorial initiatives. As a resident curator I worked on putting together exhibitions as well as overseeing additional programming for this alternative space. My residency culminated in the two-part exhibition New York Meets Tbilisi: Defining Otherness that cumulatively presented nine Georgian and five New York-based artists in visual dialogue with each other. Exploring phenomenon of Otherness in various aspects through artworks and finding correspondences as well as contrasts was challenging and exciting. This exhibition project was selected by New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA) for fiscal sponsorship.
Among my publications: “Anna Valdez: Natural Curiosity” (Paragon Books, Berkeley, CA 2019), “Lechaki: Photography of Daro Sulakauri” (ERTI Gallery, Georgia 2018), “The Science, Religion, and Culture of Georgia A Concise and Illustrated History” (NOVA Science Publishing, New York 2017). My articles have been featured in Arte Fuse New York, White Hot Magazine of Contemporary Art, Arte & Lusso Dubai, East European Film Bulletin Berlin, Coeur Et Art, Hyperallergic, Art Spiel, Indigo Magazine, Heinrich Boell Foundation blog.
Selected exhibitions: Rooms & Beings: Solo of Rusudan Khizanishvili at 68 Projects, Berlin, Defining Otherness Part I at Assembly Room (LES), and Part II at Kunstraum LLC Brooklyn, January-March 2020; King is Female at Villa Wessel Kunstverein, Iserlohn, Germany, October 2018; Natela Iankoshvili Centennial at MoMa Tbilisi, Georgia, June 2018; Conversion Device by Rusudan Khizanishvili at Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils, Latvia, April 2018.
I have served as a visiting critic for New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation in 2019; International School of Photography, New York in 2019 and 2020; juror for Bronx Council on the Arts New Work 2020; Virtual Visitor for Art Omi residency program in summer 2020; Residency Unlimited studio visitor in spring 2021. In addition, I have facilitated and served as a juror for Grant Initiative in Support of Georgian Artists During Covid-19 in conjunction with Ria Keburia Foundation.
My current and ongoing focus as a researcher and curator is discerning and studying alternative narratives within dominant cultures. You can see my recent reviews, essays, and articles in My Articles section of the website.
2021 CURATORIAL PROJECTS:
May 1-31, 2021 at Ivy Brown Gallery, New York. Press here for RSVP.
Participating artists: Samira Abbassy, Whitney Harris, Mark Milroy, Bea Scaccia
Our time defies logic in many ways or rather it creates a different kind of logic. What was certain for centuries becomes obsolete in a matter of hours, while simultaneously old ideas of isolationism thrive once more. Logic is outdated and recreated, dissected and revisited. Only artistic production can fathom such discrepancies and come unscathed. Surrealism is a notion that comes to mind when an individual is facing a reality of one’s own making, when considering how real is her reality, how accurate his dreams. Surreal painters bring in their mysteries, their puzzles and riddles, their sets of visual associations and hidden keys. Artists selected for Defied Logic – a four-artist exhibition at Ivy Brown Gallery do not purposefully chase their dreams or subconscious drives, yet what they show us are questions and metaphors executed through their highly personalized and masterful languages. In the selected works phantasmagoric dynamic of traditional surrealism gives way to a more contemplative and reflexive turn, a turn that is also disquieting and shape-shifting.
Samira Abbassy is an Iranian-born and New York-based artist, whose magnetic, minimal and eloquent figures carry timelessness around their shoulders, grappling with eternal forces of grief, trauma, renunciation, hierarchy, shame, delusion, and truth. Using a rich and minimal palette Abbassy creates scenes biblical in their gravity, they act as parables for any given dilemmas in human lives. She is an intense historian of her own mystical land and with these works Abbassy chronicles and defines it.
In her prints and sculptural works New York-based Whitney Harris depicts nude feminine bodies, self-aware and vulnerable, indifferent to their audience and comfortable in their reflective state. Appropriating the nude femme pictorial tradition throughout art history Harris looks at internal emotional spaces reflective of all races and times. This is the state where reality blurs with fiction. Female bodies are not objectified, but celebrated for their connection to the rhymes of nature.
Brooklyn-based painter Mark Milroy uses life and fiction as subject matter for his paintings. Frustration, joy, wonder, and pain are palpable in his portraits and scenes depicting humans in everyday surroundings. Yet, a hint of uneasiness and undercurrents are also present. A snake presents itself in the middle of an intimate dialogue. A glistening pink wall appears in front of two protagonists. A viewer is invited to decide on the reality factor.
Italian-born and New York-based artist Bea Scaccia questions our roles in society, our certainty as human beings. She plays with compositions and themes that contain all possibilities— therefore her creations are genderless, ageless, faceless. In her latest series Hang in there, Scaccia completely abandons figures and looks at wigs as a certain kind of presence underlining the void behind us. This void stands behind our performative gender or role choices. With her compositions Scaccia reminds us that we do not really have a clue about what/who we are and that selves are often fluid and unknown.
I am also curator of Public Digital Art Fund, a new immersive digital space on a busy intersection of Moscow City. It continues the 6-year mission of Moscow Public Art Fund to bring new contemporary art for people in the city streets.
Inception of the new Public Digital Art Fund was brought forth by the ongoing global shifts and willingness to support contemporary art in its many iterations. As a team we are looking forward to inviting various international and Russian video artists to expand on the meaning and outreach of contemporary digital art. By providing this innovative space we are hoping to extend a dialogue between artists and people on the streets; to show something new, but also to ask questions and to provide a new understanding of public art. Our vision is to select three diverse and novel video works based on a variety of themes thus choosing topics for discussion and attracting philosophers, writers, other artists, curators and representatives of the Russian and Western art space to elucidate on them.
March – May 2021
As March is globally recognized as a Women’s month for the March launch of the platform we focused on with three women artists. Italy/LA-based Masha Rudenko, New York-based Renana Neuman and Berlin-based Eli Cortiñas all present women as central characters of their artistic explorations. If Rudenko explores the ways of perceptions she brings in a woman who adheres to the archetype – she is gentle, serene and closely connected to the rhymes of nature. In Renana Neuman’s video a statue contemplates its life choices and its possible futures, daydreaming of other places. Temporarily Removed addresses the many processes of dislocating and enframing inherent to the construction of any collection. Women who are displayed are always chosen based on the fashion of the day. Eli Conrtiñas’ video looks at the place of an individual within a society, a woman wearing a bear mask tries to find her place in the city and outside of it.