Starting 2017, VIA Art Fund will annually award a curatorial fellowship grant to foster ambitious curatorial research and enhance VIA’s grantmaking success. The aim of the award is to support visionary curators by providing discretionary funds for exhibition research, travel, and the general development of the curator’s area of inquiry, while also informing VIA’s grantmaking decisions through an engagement with today’s leading curatorial voices.
VIA is pleased to present the 2018 Curatorial Fellowship grant to Cathleen Chaffee, Chief Curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. Chaffee has been a curator with Albright-Knox since 2014, where she has organized seminal exhibitions such as Joe Bradley’s recent mid-career survey, Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford (2016), and emerging artist Erin Shirreff’s first large-scale American museum exhibition. Her next exhibition, the first museum survey of the Buffalo-based artist, musician, and filmmaker, Tony Conrad (1940-2016), will open in 2018.
Some areas of Chaffee’s scholarship interests include abstract painting and conceptual art, and engaging directly with emerging to mid-career contemporary artists to realize exhibitions with the intention of moving their artistic practices forward. An artnet “Curator on the Rise,” Chaffee has contributed to various publications such as Artforum, Frieze, Contemporary, Mousse, and Manifesta Journal.
Chaffee received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University and was awarded the Fulbright Fellowship in 2008 to complete research for her dissertation, Décors: Marcel Broodthaers’ Late Exhibition Practice, 1974–75. She received her Master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art and completed her undergraduate studies at Ithaca College.
Using the fellowship monies, Cathleen intends to travel, and conduct in-depth studio visits with artists in vibrant, yet geographically distant art worlds, such as Lebanon, South Africa, and Egypt. She hopes to utilize these trips to get to know select artists and their practices, especially in the context of their communities, as well as broaden the collection of voices with which she works.
VIA is proud to support Chaffee and looks forward to the outcomes of her proposed endeavor.
Cathleen Chaffee, Photo: James Sevigny.
In 2017, Naomi Beckwith was proudly selected as VIA’s first Curatorial Fellowship Grantee. Prior to assuming her role at the MCA Chicago in 2011, Beckwith held positions at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She has curated a multitude of exhibitions such as The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now at the ICA Philadelphia and 30 Seconds off an Inch at the Studio Museum. These exhibitions exemplify Beckwith’s focus on the persistent resonance of black cultural practices across contemporary art internationally.
A champion of rising artists, Beckwith has shown early support for artists such as Rashid Johnson, Jimmy Robert, Keren Cytter, The Propeller Group, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and believes working with living artists to be the greatest advantage of studying contemporary art. In addition to having served on the Jury of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, Beckwith frequently contributes to numerous publications such as Frieze and Parkett Magazine. Beckwith, recently named one of Artsy’s 20 most influential young curators in the US, was also a 2017 curatorial fellow with the Center for Curatorial Leadership in New York. A native Chicagoan, Beckwith holds a BA in History from Northwestern University, and an MA with Distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art.
Given Beckwith’s deep interest in international art and the Black Arts Movement, she used her fellowship monies towards research in the African continent, where she had yet to visit. Mainly through visiting Senegal, and the 2018 Dakar Biennial, Beckwith traveled through northern Africa, an area that has been key to the Negritude movement, where artists such as Yto Barrada have studios. This research trip allowed Beckwith to fill a space in her research that has been a dream of hers for some time.
Naomi Beckwith, Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.