Ashley James as been appointed Associated Curator, Contemporary Art of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, announced the museum. James, whose work merges curatorial practice with an academic background rooted in African American studies, English literature, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, began her new position on November 12, 2019. Most recently, James was Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum.
Nancy Spector, Guggenheim Museum Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, stated, “Ashley is a curator who has demonstrated incisive and intersectional thinking about contemporary artistic practice. Her work complements the Guggenheim’s mission to present the art of today, which we understand as a deep and expansive view of art history. We are pleased to welcome her to the Guggenheim and anticipate a strong collaboration with Ashley as part of our excellent and dedicated curatorial team.”
As Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art of the Brooklyn Museum, James was lead curator for the museum’s presentation of "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power," and organized "Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room." She is co-curating the upcoming exhibition "John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance."
In addition, James played a key role in development, public programs and acquisitions at the Brooklyn Museum, including helping to bring works by Ed Clark, Arthur Jafa, Taryn Simon and other key contemporary artists into the collection.
James has served as a Mellon Curatorial Fellow in Drawing and Prints at the Museum of Modern Art, where her work focused on retrospectives of Adrian Piper and Charles White. She has held positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and at the Yale University Art Gallery, where she co-organized the exhibition "Odd Volumes: Book Art" from the Allan Chasanoff Collection.
She has contributed essays and research for books, magazines, and catalogues, including publications on Charles White, Palmer Hayden and Howardena Pindell. James holds a BA from Columbia University and an MA from Yale University, where, in the spring of 2020, she will receive a PhD in English Literature, African American Studies, and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, with a dissertation that reorients discourses of black representation.
James said, “It is an honor to be joining the Guggenheim, an institution that advances art and culture through rigor and creativity, distinct vision, and a clear commitment to artists. I am eager to begin work with my colleagues to develop new research, explore new ideas for exhibitions, programs, and publications, and continue to expand and shape such a vital collection.”
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