LOS ANGELES, CA.- The California African American Museum
announced that curator a arts writer Essence Harden will join the Museums staff as visual arts curator, effective December 13, 2021.
Essence Harden has been a collaborator and friend to CAAM for years, so we ar delighted to now welcome them to the CAAM staff, said Executive Director Cameron Shaw. Essence is deeply enmeshed in contemporary art communities throughout California, and we look forward to them bringing those experiences, relationships, and passions to the work at CAAM.
Im excited to join the CAAM team as a visual arts curator. CAAM has been an incredible point of access for Los Angeles, and I look forward to supporting artists, highlighting the work of collectors and collectives, and cultivating scholarship on Black visual culture and the West, said Harden.
As an independent curator, Harden curated the 2018 solo exhibition Shinique Smith: Refuge and co-curated the 2019 group exhibition Plumb Line: Charles White and the Contemporary, both at CAAM. Harden has also curated exhibitions at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), El Segundo Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, and at several galleries, and is part of the curatorial team for the Orange County Museum of Arts 2022 California Biennial.
Hardens writings about art and artists have appeared in the New York Times Magazine (2022), Image magazine, SSENSE, Art21, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, Artsy, LALA, Cultured Magazine, Performa Magazine, and SFAQ: International Art and Culture amongst other publications. They have contributed to catalogues for Prospect 5: Yesterday we said tomorrow; Brave New Worlds: Explorations of Space at the Palm Springs Art Museum; and What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts at Willamette University.
A 2018 recipient of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and a 2020 Annenberg Innovation Lab Civic Media Fellow, Harden graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in History and received her M.A. from the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently Harden is a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley.