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Helen Molesworth to collaborate with Jack Shainman on summer programming

The curator is organising “Feedback” for the gallery’s Upstate New York satellite space, marking her first major curatorial project since leaving LA’s Moca

Jack Shainman's The School in Kinderhook, New York Courtesy of Jack Shainman

The School, Jack Shainman gallery’s 30,000-sq. ft satellite space in Kinderhook, New York, will open a show next May organised by mega-curator Helen Molesworth, kicking off its 2020 summer programming.

Titled Feedback, the sprawling group show will feature works by Lynette Yiadom-Boake, Diedrick Brackens, Dana Sherwood, Janet Cardiff, Sanford Biggers, Cauleen Smith and Roy Dowell, among others. It takes its title from sound artist Cardiff’s work of the same name and the physical structure and evocative atmosphere of The School itself.

“Cardiff toys around with Jimi Hendrix’s version of the Star Spangled Banner, which got me in the headspace of improvisation, politics, craft, and virtuosity,” Molesworth explains, adding that the former schoolhouse structure evokes questions of how and where we learn what we learn. “In the crosshairs of those coordinates I chose artists whose work I’ve been following who I thought when brought together might function as a kind of assembly or pageant of sorts, a meditation on where we are now as a country and a culture."

The selling exhibition is the first large-scale show Molesworth has curated since she left her post at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art (Moca) in 2018 under quarrelsome circumstances. Artist-trustee Catherine Opie told the Los Angeles Times last year that then Moca director Philippe Vergne fired the curator for “undermining the museum”. The museum never gave an explicit reason and, after facing much backlash, Vergne resigned about two months later.

Gallery owner Jack Shainman says he is “excited” for the opportunity to work with Molesworth: “Her singular curatorial style helps further our mission of presenting museum-quality exhibitions, freely accessible to the general public. Additionally, working with artists both in and outside of our program strengthens our vision for The School as a platform for artistic collaboration and creative excellence.”