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The Armory Show announces curatorial team for the fair's September 2021 edition at the Javits Center
Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Claudia Schmuckli, and Valerie Cassel Oliver will lead The Armory Show’s 2021 curatorial initiatives. Photo: Teddy Wolff.



NEW YORK, NY.- For its September 2021 edition, the first to be held at the state-of-the-art Javits Center, The Armory Show continues its commitment to curatorially driven programming. These initiatives—the Focus and Platform sections of the fair, as well as the Curatorial Leadership Summit—are an essential part of The Armory Show. Each one offers a unique perspective through which visitors can engage with critical issues and culturally significant themes in the context of modern and contemporary works of art. For the inaugural year at the Javits Center, Focus and Platform will join Galleries and Presents under one roof in a cohesive and integrated floorplan designed to optimize the fair experience for exhibitors and collectors alike. Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, will curate the Focus section; Claudia Schmuckli, Curator-in-Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, will curate the Platform section; and Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will chair the Curatorial Leadership Summit.

Nicole Berry, Executive Director of The Armory Show, said: For our 2021 curatorial program, we are thrilled to be collaborating with these three distinguished curators and look forward to the incredible insights and unique perspectives they’ll bring to the next edition of the Armory Show. In addition, we’re privileged to once again convene curators from around the world at our annual Curatorial Leadership Summit. Fundamentally, we are a platform for the art community to gather for connections, dialogue, and exchange, and this symposium enables curators to come together for timely conversations about important challenges and issues. Recent events have further underscored how important it is to share such ideas across the sector, and we look forward to welcoming our visitors and curators for these vital exchanges in 2021.




Further background on the 2021 curatorial program and the newly appointed curators are as follows:

Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, will curate Focus, dedicated to solo- and dual-artist presentations of today’s most relevant and compelling artworks. A highlight of the fair, Focus provides additional opportunities for galleries to exhibit at The Armory Show by offering a subsidized rate. Previous curators of Focus have included Jarrett Gregory, Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2017); Gabriel Ritter, Curator, Minneapolis Institute of Art (2018); Lauren Haynes, Curator of Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2019); and Jamillah James, Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2020).

Claudia Schmuckli, Curator-in-Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, will curate Platform, dedicated to large-scale and sitespecific presentations. Works in this section will be placed throughout the Javits Center, allowing for moments of pause and reflection. Introduced in 2017, Platform has previously been curated by Eric Shiner, Executive Director, Pioneer Works (2017); Jen Mergel, former Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2018); Sally Tallant, President and Executive Director, Queens Museum (2019); and Anne Ellegood, Executive Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2020).

Valerie Cassel Oliver, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, will chair the fourth Curatorial Leadership Summit (CLS). Convening curators from around the world, the summit is a day-long, invitation-only symposium, which fosters innovation in the curatorial community through exploring, debating, and challenging some of the most critical topics in the arts and culture landscape. A public keynote presentation follows the closed-door session. In addition to the on-site summit, Valerie will chair two Virtual CLS events in the spring of 2021 leading up to the fair. Previous chairs of the CLS have included Naomi Beckwith, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2018); Dan Byers, John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University (2019); and José Carlos Diaz, Chief Curator, The Andy Warhol Museum (2020). The 2020 Virtual CLS program has featured Sally Tallant, President and Executive Director, Queens Museum, and Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+ Hong Kong.










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