LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Hammer Museum announced today that James Elaine, Hammer Projects curator, will become Adjunct Curator at the Hammer when he moves to China this spring to conduct research and pursue independent curatorial work. With a prestigious grant from the Asian Cultural Council, Elaine will move to China at the end of March 2008 and in this new role will use his expertise to seek out emerging artists in China and throughout Asia . Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum of Contemporary Art also recently announced that the 2008 Ordway Prize will be awarded on March 3 to Elaine, which is accompanied by an unrestricted award of $100,000, one of the most generous international prizes in the visual arts. This biennial award acknowledges the contributions of midcareer artists and contemporary arts writers/curators whose work has had significant impact on the field of contemporary art, but who have not yet received commensurate public visibility and critical acclaim.
Elaine has supported local, national, and international emerging artists throughout his career as a curator. In 1999 he and Hammer Director Ann Philbin created the Hammer Projects series and as the series curator Elaine created one of the most respected emerging artist programs in the world. Over the past nine years, he has organized more than 65 solo projects of international artists in the Hammer Projects series, and also co-curated several group exhibitions at the Museum with a similar emphasis: Snapshot, New Work from LA in 2001, which showcased 25 young and emerging artists working and living in Los Angeles; International Paper in 2003, showcasing 22 underrepresented local, national, and international artists working with varying and diverse forms of drawing; and the much-lauded exhibition THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, which was voted Best Thematic Show Nationally 2005 by the International Association of Art Critics, US Chapter.
Elaine is particularly respected for his consistency in showcasing artists very early in their careers, often for the first time in an institutional setting, and thereby introducing the public to important new forms of expression. Among the artists to whom Elaine has given critical early support are Kara Walker, Laylah Ali, Janine Antoni, Mark Bradford, Teresita Fernandez, Mark Grotjahn, Margaret Kilgallen, Simon Starling, Gert & Uwe Tobias, Song Kun, and many others.
Before arriving at the Hammer, Elaine was the Selections Shows curator and Viewing Program coordinator from 1990 to 1999 at The Drawing Center, New York, where he organized over 40 group exhibitions and solo projects of emerging artists. A native of Dallas, Texas, Elaine is also a working artist, whose films, videos, and drawings have been included in numerous international museum and gallery exhibitions and film festivals, such as in Todaysart Festival, Grote Kerk, The Hague, Netherlands (2007); Volksbühne, Berlin, Germany (2007); Domestic Setting, Los Angeles (2007, 2006); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy (2007); E-FLUX artist video project, International (2007); Cité de la Musique, Paris, France (2006); Optica ’06: The Gijón International Festival of Video Art, Gijón, Asturias, Spain (2006); Ideal Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden (2006); Visual Music, The Museum of Contemporary Art at REDCAT, Los Angeles (2005); Adelaide Film Festival, Australia (2005); Kill Your Timid Notion Film Festival, Dundee, Scotland (2004); CinemaTexas International Short Film Festival, Austin, Texas (2003); and the Rotterdam International Film Festival (2001 and 2002).