A new art foundation focused on supporting emerging and mid-career artists launches in Los Angeles next February with Christopher Y. Lew, a former curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, at the helm.
Lew has been named the chief artistic director of the Horizon foundation established by the Los Angeles-based collectors Jason Li and Harry Hu, who are funding the new initiative. May Xue—the former director of educational and institutional relations at the Hong Kong–based K11 Art Foundation—is another co-founder, and also chief executive director.
Wassan Al-Khudhairi, chief curator at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and Pérez Art Museum Miami curator María Elena Ortiz will sit on the foundation’s advisory board for the first year. “Led by the chief artistic director [Lew], the advisory board seeks to identify cutting-edge practitioners based in the US and abroad, giving particular emphasis to artists deserving of greater recognition,” says a statement. The board will be selected on an annual basis by Lew.
Four artists will be chosen for the inaugural year with residencies lasting up to two months; all participants will be based in a 4,800 sq. ft studio in downtown Los Angeles. “Horizon is a non-profit and not involved with the sales of works. Any works made during the residency are the artists,” the statement adds.
Lew will remain in New York meanwhile; he told Artnews he hopes to lure artists from outside Los Angeles to “experience an exciting scene only gathering momentum”. At the Whitney, he was the co-curator of Salman Toor: How Will I Know (2020) and also organised Pope.L: Choir (2019) and Kevin Beasley: A view of a landscape (2018). He was also co-curator of the 2017 Whitney Biennial which included Dana Schutz's controversial painting Open Casket (2016) based on a photograph of the funeral of Emmett Till who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955.
Hu sits on the Chairman’s Council for the Whitney Museum, the institution’s most prestigious patrons association, while Li sits on the Artists Council for the Whitney, a group for young collectors.
Lew, Li and Xue are also collaborating on the new Outland platform which will air “criticism and conversations about art, technology and NFTs”. Brian Droitcour, editor in chief of Outland, writes that “we’re presenting content in a variety of formats that open Outland up to perspectives from critics, artists, collectors, and curators—with the awareness that in the NFT space these roles often overlap.” A spokeswoman for Horizon says there is no connection between the two ventures.