WAP Guest Curator Allison Glenn with 2018/19 Winners from left, Myra Greene, Krista Clark, and Cosmo Whyte

Each year for the Working Artist Project call for submissions, MOCA GA leadership invites a respected curator from a national institution to select the winning WAP Fellows and to curate the season of exhibitions. The guest curator visits Atlanta and meets with 7-10 finalists through studio visits before selecting three winners.  This process increases the visibility of 80-100 Georgia applicants each year to curators working throughout the nation and showcases the talented breadth of artists working in Atlanta.

Julie Rodrigues Widholm stated, “These awards keep talented artists in Georgia and prevent the mass exodus of artists to NY or Los Angeles that can befall smaller cities.  In addition, awards such as this, with direct financial support to artists, which is critically needed and often overlooked, allow artists to explore new materials, invest in studio spaces, provide solo exhibition opportunities, and connect their work to curators from other cities.”

Wassan Al-Khudhairi, WAP 2019/2020

Wassan Al-Khudhairi is the Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, where she has organized Guan Xiao: Fiction Archive Project, Hayv Kahraman: Acts of Reparation, Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Re-Evolving Door to the Moundverse and SUPERFLEX: European Union Mayotte. Prior to her position at CAM, Al-Khudhairi was the Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. During her time in Birmingham, she organized the first large-scale exhibition of the museum’s contemporary collection, Third Space/shifting conversations about contemporary art. She was invited to be a Curator for the 6th Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan in 2017 and Co-Artistic Director for 9th Gwangju Biennial in South Korea in 2012. Serving as the Founding Director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar, Al-Khudhairi oversaw the opening of the Museum in 2010 and co-curated Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art and curated Cai Guo-Qiang: Saraab.

Photo of Wassan Al-Khudhairi by Orlando Thompson.

Allison Glenn, WAP 2018/2019

Allison Glenn currently Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Curator of Out of Easy Reach, a cross-institutional exhibition hosted by DePaul Art Museum, Stony Island Arts Bank, and Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois Chicago, for which she authored and edited the accompanying catalogue. She possesses a Bachelor of Fine Art Photography with a co-Major in Urban Studies from Wayne State University and dual Masters Degrees in Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While serving as Manager of Publications and Curatorial Associate at Prospect New Orleans, Glenn was responsible for the catalogue development and artists’ projects initiatives related to the international art triennial Prospect 4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp. She has contributed to several exhibition publications including Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017, MIT Press (2017); Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp (2017); Prospect.3: Notes for Now, Prospect New Orleans and DelMonico Prestel (2014); Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and DelMonico Prestel (2015); and Fore, The Studio Museum in Harlem (2012). Further contributions by Glenn can be found in Hyperallergic, ART21 Magazine, Pelican Bomb’s Art Review, and Newcity.

Photo of Allison Glenn by Stephen Ironside.

Joey Orr, WAP 2017/2018

Joey Orr joined the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in 2017 as the Andrew W. Mellon Curator for Research, part of their Integrated Arts Research Initiative. His recent curatorial post was as the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where his major project aligned three exhibitions around artistic inquiry (Chicago Works: Andrew Yang, MCA Screen: Camille Hennrot’s Grosse Fatigue, and Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination). Specifically trained in hybrid and artistic research methods, he received his MA in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and completed a practice-based, interdisciplinary PhD as an Arts and Sciences Fellow in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University. He recently co-edited “Participatory Research and Visual Methods,” a special issue of Visual Methodologies (Research Methods Lab, Switzerland) and was an associate editor in the inaugural years of the Journal for Artistic Research (Bern, Switzerland). He is currently co-editing “Inhabiting Cultures,” a special issue of the Journal of American Studies (Cambridge University Press). His chapter “Collecting Social Things” will be out in the volume Rhetoric, Social Value, and the Arts in 2017 (Palgrave Pivot), as will his recent interview with artist Suzanne Lacy (Art & the Public Sphere). He is also a founding member of the idea collective, John Q, whose projects explore collaborative notions of public scholarship. In Atlanta, he was the founder of the five-year art-in-community project, ShedSpace, and in the early years of MOCA GA, he worked on such projects as Andrew Ross: Origins and the Georgia 7.

Rene Morales, WAP 2016/2017

René Morales received degrees in Art History from Swarthmore College and Brown University. He has been a curator at the Perez Art Museum Miami—previously known as Miami Art Museum—since 2005. In 2014, he organized the museum’s current collection display Global Positioning Systems. Morales organized three well-received exhibitions for the opening of PAMM in 2013—Amelia Peláez: The Craft of Modernity, A Human Document: Selections from the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, andMonika Sosnowska: Market. Recent exhibitions he has organized include a survey of the work of Miami-based painter Victoria Gitman, a discursive installation by Marjetica Potrc, a project that incorporates live parrots by the Rotterdam-based artist pair Bik Van der Pol, a site-specific sculptural work by Miami-based artist Nicolas Lobo, and a selection of Romare Bearden’s 1964 Photostat works. Morales is currently working on newly commissioned projects with Sarah Oppenheimer and Susan Hiller, as well as a major survey of the work of Dara Friedman. Prior to working at PAMM, Morales worked at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.

Saisha Grayson, WAP 2015/2016

Saisha Grayson came to Atlanta to serve as Guest Curator for the 2015/2016 Working Artist Project. Formerly at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she served as assistant curator from 2011- 2016, she joined the staff at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2018 as the curator of time-based media. She received her MA in Contemporary Art and Curatorial Studies from Columbia University. She taught art history at Queens College, CUNY and Ithaca College, and has guest lectured at Sarah Lawrence College, The New School and the Maryland Institute College of Arts. Grayson was awarded a predoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2016 and a Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art in 2017.

Siri Engberg, WAP 2014/2015

Siri Engberg, Senior Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, came to Atlanta to serve as Guest Curator for the 2014/2015 Working Artist Project. Ms. Engberg has worked as part of the curatorial team since 1990, serving as curator for over 30 Walker-organized exhibitions. Her recent exhibitions include Lifelike, a group exhibition examining notions of hyperreality in contemporary art; and the survey exhibitions From Here to There: Alec Soth’s America; Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967-2005; and Kiki Smith: A Gathering, all of which have toured the US. Engberg has authored numerous exhibition catalogues, as well as two Walker-published catalogues raisonnés: one on the prints and books of Edward Ruscha, and the other on the prints of Robert Motherwell. She is currently at work on an upcoming exhibition celebrating the Walker’s 75th Anniversary in 2015.

Franklin Sirmins, WAP 2013/2014

The WAP Guest Curator in 2013/2014 was Franklin Sirmans, who was the Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and is now the Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, to which he was appointed in 2015. From 2006 to 2010, he was the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Menil Collection in Houston, TX, where he organized exhibitions including NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith, Maurizio Cattelan: Is There Life Before Death, Steve Wolfe: On Paper and Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster, 1964-66. The latter two traveled to LACMA, where Sirmans has also organized the museum’s presentation of Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals, Color and Form, Robert Therrien and Ends and Exits: Contemporary Art from the Collections of LACMA and the Broad Art Foundation. He also coorganized the exhibition Human Nature: Contemporary Art from the Collection. Sirmans was the 2007 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize awarded by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. He has written extensively for catalogues and articles and reviews in publications such as The New York Times, Time Out New York, Essence, Parkett and Grand Street. He is the artistic director of Prospect.3 New Orleans.

Julia Rodrigues Widholm, WAP 2012/2013

Currently the Director and Chief Curator at the DePaul Art Museum, Julie Rodrigues Widholm, held the title of Pamela Alper Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA), when she served as Guest Curator for 2012/2013 Working Artist Project. At the DePaul, Widholm leads the strategic and artistic vision to promote equity and interdisciplinary education in the arts and her work seeks to provide a platform for marginalized practices, voices and experiences.
While at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago she curated major solo exhibitions of work by Rashid Johnson, Amalia Pica, Cauleen Smith, Kathryn Andrews, Amanda Ross-Ho, and co-curated Doris Salcedo’s touring retrospective, along with several thematic exhibitions including Escultura Social: A New Generation of Art in Mexico City and Unbound: Contemporary Art after Frida Kahlo. She has also been a strong advocate for Chicago-based artists for the last two decades.
Her curatorial projects have been presented at DePaul Art Museum, MCA Chicago, Miami Art Museum, the High Museum, Perez Art Museum Miami, the Nasher Museum at Duke University, MIT List Visual Arts Center, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Mildred Lane Kemper Museum at Washington University, and the Nasher Sculpture Center. Rodrigues Widholm has authored or contributed to more than 25 publications and has served as a juror for organizations including the Headlands Center for the Arts, Mcknight Foundation, 3Arts, Artadia, Creative Capital, Chicago Artist Coalition, and the Peggy Nohl Fellowship, among others. She has been a visiting critic at national universities, a graduate advisor, and given numerous public talks. In 2015 and 2017, she was named one of Chicago’s ART50 Visual Vanguard by New City. During the 2016-2017 academic year, she was a Senior Fellow in the Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice at the School of the Art Institute Chicago. She holds a BA in Art History and Political Science from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and an MA in Art History, Theory and Criticism from the School of the Art Institute.

Michael Rooks, WAP 2011/2012

Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, High Museum of Art served as Guest Curator for the 2011/2012 round of artists’ submissions. Prior to joining the High Museum of Art as Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Michael Rooks divided his museum career between three organizations in Chicago and Honolulu. During his tenure at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and later at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Rooks introduced new artists to the state of Hawaii through original and traveling exhibitions. At Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Rooks curated numerous solo shows and survey exhibitions including Roy Lichtenstein: Interiors and H. C. Westermann for which he co-authored Westermann’s catalogue raisonné. His thematic exhibitions at MCA include the first major response to the war in Iraq titled War What Is It Good For? Besides his responsibilities at the High, Rooks is the Commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Allison Unruh, WAP 2010/2011

Allison Unruh, the Associate Curator of The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, and previously, the Curatorial Associate at the Princeton University Art Museum held a position as Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) when she served as the Guest Curator for 2010/2011 Working Artist Project. Ms. Unruh has curated exhibitions including “Josephine Meckseper: Recent Films,” “Heather Rowe: Apportion Your Space (Tenuous Arrangements),” and co-curated an exhibition organized by the Indianapolis Museum with the Warhol Museum titled “Andy Warhol Enterprises.” In 2008, she earned her doctoral degree in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, and previously earned her master’s degree in art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University. Prior to joining the IMA, she worked as a writer for Christie’s Auction House in New York, where she wrote essays on Post-War and Contemporary Art for their catalogues and magazine.

Carter Foster, WAP 2009/2010

Current Deputy Director of the Blanton Museum of Art, and former Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, Carter Foster held the position of Curator of Drawings at the Whitney Museum of Art while serving as the Guest Curator for the 2009/2010 Working Artist Project. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Carter Foster graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in art history from the University of Georgia and earned his Master’s degree in 1991 from Brown University. After holding positions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the New York Public Library, he joined the staff of the drawing department at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1996 and became its chief in 2002.  While there, he co-curated the first major exhibition of Cleveland’s drawing collection which toured to Houston and New York City among other places, and co-authored the accompanying catalogue. Mr. Foster also added important drawings to the collection, including works by Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Charles Sheeler, Louise Bourgeois, and Ellsworth Kelly.  In 2003, he developed two major exhibitions, Drawing Modern: Works from the Agnes Gund Collection and Jasper Johns: Numbers. Mr. Foster joined the staff of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in early 2004 as Curator and Co-chair of the Department of Prints and Drawings.

Jeffery Grove, WAP 2007/2008

Current Director of Museums and Publications at New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery, and formerly Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, Jeffery Grove was serving as the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the High Museum of Art from 2005-2009, while acting as a Guest Curator for the 2007/2008 Working Artist Project. In his current position he facilitates the gallery’s artist participation in as many as 40-60 exhibitions per year. At the High Museum Grove was responsible for the management of the contemporary collection and conceived the inaugural presentation of the Museum’s permanent holdings in its new Renzo Piano–designed expansion. From 2001 to 2004, as Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at The Cleveland Museum of Art, Grove directed the Museum’s post-1945 collection of painting and sculpture and oversaw the development of exhibitions, programs, and scholarly publications. Previously, he was the founding curator of The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., and held several positions at the Akron Art Museum, from 1995 to 1999, culminating as Curator of Exhibitions. Grove has developed numerous exhibitions and scholarly publications over the course of his career. In addition to After 1968 and Morris Louis Now at the High Museum of Art, other major exhibitions curated by Grove include Michaël Borremans: Drawings (2005-2006) at the Kunstmuseum Basel, MetaScape: Torben Giehler, Benjamin Edwards, Julie Mehretu and Yutaka Sone (2003) at Cleveland, and Liza Lou: Bead the World (2000) at the Akron Art Museum. He has also organized the first solo museum exhibitions in the US for a number of then emerging artists, including Trenton Doyle Hancock, Kelly McLane, and Aernout Mik. Grove received a doctorate in art history from Case Western Reserve University in 1999, a Master of Arts degree in art history and archaeology from the University of Missouri in 1992, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in industrial design from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1985. In 1994, Grove received the College Art Association Professional Development Fellowship Award. He was the recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities in 1996.

Andrea Barnwell-Brownlee, WAP 2007/2008

Serving as a Guest Curator for the 2007/2008 Working Artist Project, Andrea Barnwell-Brownlee is an art historian, curator, writer, and the Director of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. Brownlee is the recipient of the 2013 David C. Driskell Prize in African American Art and Art History. She has also received numerous academic, professional, and scholarly awards including a MacArthur Curatorial Fellowship in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Art Institute of Chicago (1998 - 2000), a Future Women Leadership Award from Art Table (2005), and the President's Award from the Women's Caucus for Art (2005). In 2010 she was awarded the inaugural Nexus Award from the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center. Brownlee, an alumna of Spelman College, earned her Ph.D. in Art History from Duke University in 2001. She is an alumna of the Getty Leadership Institute, and a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. She has served on the boards of several arts organizations including the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences and the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund. In 2008 Brownlee served as the Vice Chair of the City of Atlanta Arts Funding Task Force. Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970, which she curated with Valerie Cassel Oliver, senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2007. In a field where African Americans comprise a very tiny percentage of directors, curators, registrars and conservators, Brownlee plans to reverse the trend by piloting a curatorial studies program at Spelman university by 2021.