Exhibitions

A selection of the exhibitions I’ve worked on as a curator, exhibition director, and coordinator, working both with global contemporary artists and historical archives. In addition to traditional curatorial responsibilities like research, checklist development, loans negotiation, writing interpretative materials, and managing layout, I have experience with many other facets of exhibition production: photographic printing techniques, creative hanging solutions, exhibition design, framing, basic graphic design and elevations mockups, database cataloguing, archiving, as well as shipping, condition checking, and packing.


The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America

Organizing curator, Brooklyn Museum

Coordinated in special collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the exhibition presented EJI’s groundbreaking research into the more than four thousand racial terror lynchings of African Americans between 1877 and 1950, alongside works from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection of contemporary art. This collaborative framework has been adapted in an ongoing traveling exhibition program, retaining its original interpretative materials, and in resonance with EJI’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL, and related efforts. More information and installation images here.

Read my related paper presentation for the College Art Association 2018 conference here.

Brooklyn Museum, 2017. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

David Levine: Some of the People, All of the Time

Organizing curator, Brooklyn Museum

Named a “Global Highlight” of 2018 by the New York Times, Some of the People, All of the Time was an original project by David Levine, whose work encompasses theater, performance, video, and photography. Through Levine’s original script and novel theatrical intervention, the exhibition examined the fragility of our democracy at an unprecedented moment in our national history. More information here.

Brooklyn Museum, 2018. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Proof: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo

Venue curator, Brooklyn Museum

Initiated at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Proof brought together the work of three chroniclers across four centuries: Francisco Goya, Sergei Eisenstein, Robert Longo. This innovative project, co-curated with Longo, borrowed from Eisenstein’s famous theory of montage: featured artwork invited viewers to find new meaning in artworks not normally encountered together, exploring enduring themes of civil unrest, political violence, and the slippages between storytelling, art-making, and reportage. More info here.

Brooklyn Museum, 2017. Photo: Jonathan Dorado

Taking Stock of Power: An Other View of the Berlin Wall

Venue organizer and exhibition director, The Walther Collection Project Space

Drawing on archives from the former East Germany over nearly a decade of research, Taking Stock of Power is an artistic intervention by Arwed Messmer and Annett Gröschner into the painstaking record-keeping of the regime that built and maintained the Berlin Wall—recalling its brutality as a physical structure and oppressive symbol. Working closely with Messmer in the Project Space on the first showing of this work in the US, the meticulous and intensive installation of many multiple, serialized images pointed to the images’ archival origins. More info here.

The Walther Collection Project Space, NYC, 2019–2020. Photo: Arwed Messmer

Day After Day: RongRong and the Beijing East Village

Organizer and exhibition director, The Walther Collection Project Space

RongRong’s photographs of the explosive artistic community known as the Beijing East Village captured the quotidian yet eruptive life of this desolate village of bohemian artists on Beijing’s outskirts, who pushed their bodies to the brink to create radical and subversive works of art. Day After Day showcases RongRong as a principal photographer of and essential collaborator in what remain some of the most powerful and important performance works of Chinese contemporary art in the early 1990s, by artists such as Zhang Huan, Ma Liuming, and Ai Weiwei.

Related publication see here. New York Times review here.

The Walther Collection Project Space, NYC, 2019. Image: RongRong, Untitled from “12 Square Meters,” 1994. ⓒ the artist. Courtesy of The Walther Collection and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre.

Scrapbook Love Story: Memory and the Vernacular Photo Album

Exhibition director, The Walther Collection Project Space

Scrapbook Love Story presented exemplary photo albums and scrapbooks compiled by everyday makers from the 1890s to the early 1970s. Recording experiences in love, war, friendship, and domestic tranquility, these albums showcased their makers’ ingenuity and artfulness, as well as obsessions, social milieus, and biases. Working with fragile, one-of-a-kind objects, display solutions required experimentation and creativity, including photo enlargements with diverse printing techniques and papers, digital slideshows, custom-built exhibition furniture, and innovative exhibition design. More information and installation images here.

The Walther Collection Project Space, NYC, 2018. Photo: Felix Ho Yuen Chan.

The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture

Traveling exhibition coordinator, Ryerson Image Centre

Curated by Sandrine Colard, The Way She Looks was presented at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto. Drawing exclusively on works from The Walther Collection, it provided a historical overview of African female experience in photography, shifting the focus towards women’s gazes and highlighting female acts of looking that challenge the male-dominated narrative of the medium. Read Aperture‘s review here. More information and images here.

Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, 2019. Image: Jodi Bieber, Babalwa, 2008. ⓒ the artist. Courtesy of The Walther Collection

Architecture in Dialogue: The Peter Eisenman Collection at Yale

Curatorial Assistant, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

Renowned architect and Yale professor Peter Eisenman assembled and donated to the Beinecke Library an electric collection of thousands of books, periodicals, posters, and ephemera from Europe’s interwar avant-garde from dozens of countries in almost 10 languages (French, Italian, Dutch, German, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, etc). The exhibition attested to the remarkable transnational conversation between architects, thinkers, and designers in the interwar period, their bold experimentations in abstraction and multimedia, the hopeful energy of building anew, and new political utopianism taking root. More info and images here.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2012. Snapshot installation image of the periodical Bauhausbücher.

sara.softness@gmail.com