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Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit hires new Senior Curator
Ossei-Mensah comes to MOCAD after almost a decade as an independent curator and cultural critic, and co-founder of ARTNOIR. Photo: Andrew Boyle.

DETROIT, MICH.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder, and Founder, Founding Director, and Board President Marsha Miro, announced the appointment of Larry Ossei-Mensah as the museum’s Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator. Ossei-Mensah comes to MOCAD after almost a decade as an independent curator and cultural critic, and co-founder of ARTNOIR, a global collective of culturalists who design experiences aimed at engaging this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class.

As an independent curator, Ossei-Mensah has organized exhibitions, programs, and events in partnership with a variety of organizations around the globe in cities in like New York, Johannesburg, and, most recently, Rome, where he co-curated a group show with Serena Trizzino at Anna Marra Contemporanea that included Derrick Adams, Firelei Baez, Paul Anthony Smith, Abigail DeVille, Alexandria Smith, and William Villalongo. Ossei-Mensah has also organized exhibitions at Aljira, a Center For Contemporary Art in Newark, and has an ongoing collaboration entitled Selections with Elizabeth Dee Gallery in New York City, highlighting emerging artists from Harlem, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx. Artists with whom Ossei-Mensah has worked include Sanford Biggers, Peter Williams, ruby amanze, Lucia Hierro, Hugo McCloud, Brendan Fernandes, Genevieve Gaignard, Jen Liu, Jillian Mayer, and Derek Fordjour, among others. Most recently, Ossei-Mensah co-curated a solo presentation of Allison Janae Hamilton’s work with Susan Cross at MASS MoCA entitled PITCH. The exhibition creates an evocative discourse that centers around the southern landscape, labor, and cultural production.

“Larry Ossei-Mensah is a rising star, whose recent work at MASS MoCA demonstrates a brilliant and complex approach to contemporary art and public programming,” says Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder. “As we expand our commitment to larger exhibitions and innovative programming, Larry brings a unique expertise in this area and his keen eye for curating with culturally inclusive nuance will further strengthen our program. We are excited to welcome Larry to MOCAD and usher his voice into our programming. We are profoundly grateful to the Susanne Feld Hilberry Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation for recognizing talent and supporting a young museum that dreams big.” He will begin his appointment on September 1, 2018.

As a writer, Ossei-Mensah has contributed to a plethora of publications and has written about Mickalene Thomas, Federico Solmi, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Yinka Shonibare Kehinde Wiley, Lorna Simpson, and street artist JR, among others. Through co-founding ARTNOIR, Ossei-Mensah has organized programs with artists, authors, and organizations such as Arthur Jafa, Wangechi Mutu, Julie Mehretu, Nina Chanel Abney, Hank Willis Thomas, Yaa Gyasi, Knopf, Random House, New Museum, National Sawdust, The New York Times, Harvard, NYU, Tumblr, and Black Lives Matter. Ossei-Mensah was the 2017 Critic-in-Residence at Art Omi and currently serves as a mentor in the New Museum’s cultural incubator program, NEW INC, designed to explore new ideas at the intersection of art, technology, and design.

“I’m humbled and honored to have an opportunity to join the MOCAD family. After a decade of working independently as an advocate for artists, across the spectrum, the Senior Curator role at MOCAD is a natural progression for me as I enter the next chapter of my career,” says Ossei-Mensah. “I’ve always been committed to working in a manner that is culturally responsive to our times and utilizes contemporary art as a tool to heighten our awareness and understanding not only about the world around us, but also ourselves. I’m looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues at MOCAD to cultivate projects and experiences that not only amplify the magic of Detroit, but also serve as a bridge between the city and the world.”

As the Museum approaches its twelfth anniversary, Ossei-Mensah’s appointment as Senior Curator reflects the Museum’s continued focus on diversity and the next generation of leaders—from artists shaping contemporary art and the future of culture to young philanthropists and activist supporters. MOCAD has grown into a leading international cultural destination.

Larry Ossei-Mensah was born in Harlem and raised in the Bronx, NY. Ossei-Mensah received his B.A. in Management from Clark University, MBA from Les Roches School in Switzerland, in addition to being an alumni of the Independent Curators International (ICI) Curatorial Intensive and Stanford’s Impact Program for Arts Leaders. Ossei-Mensah has published essays such artists as Mohamed Bourouissa for the Prospect 3: Notes for Now, Federico Solmi for The Good Samaritans at the Rochester Contemporary, and Meschac Gaba for the Studio Museum’s upcoming exhibition Black Refractions among others. His most recent projects include Hear/Here: Samora Pinderhughes, Nina Chanel Abney, Aja Monet, Ambrose Akinmusire at National Sawdust (2018), Peter Williams: WIth So Little to be Sure of at the CUE Art Foundation (2018), Lucia Hierro: Mercado at Elizabeth Dee Gallery (2018), COMM | ALT | SHIFT at Aljira (co-curated with Dexter Wimberly, 2017), Race & Revolution: Still Separate - Still Unequal at Smack Mellon (co-curated with Katie Fuller, 2017 to present). Ossei-Mensah is the recent recipient of a Warhol Foundation grant for his upcoming exhibition in 2019 at MOAD in San Francisco entitled Coffee, Rhum, Sugar, Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox co-curated with Dexter Wimberly. You can follow Larry Ossei-Mensah on social media at @Youngglobal (Instagram/Twitter).

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