Organized in collaboration with the California African American Museum (CAAM), Points of Access: Curators Conversation is the third program in the Points of Access series aimed at offering meaningful dialogue about access to and understanding of contemporary art. In four public programs, CAAM and A+P welcome artists, collectors, curators, and museum administrators to discuss their diverse paths and how they navigated the art world at each point in their careers. The series is designed for individuals at all levels of familiarity with contemporary art; no prior knowledge is required and all are welcome.
Points of Access: Curators Conversation will include Essence Harden (independent), Jamillah James (ICA LA) and Carolyn Castaño (Independent) and will be moderated by Anne Ellegood (Hammer Museum).
Anne Ellegood has been the Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum since 2009. Previously, she was Curator of Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., and from 1998-2003, she was the Associate Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. In addition to organizing exhibitions and building the collection, she oversees the Hammer Projects series and the Public Engagement program. Ellegood recently organized the first North American retrospective of the work of Jimmie Durham, which opened at the Hammer in January 2017, traveled to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and the Remai Modern in Saskatoon. She is the co-curator, with Erin Christovale, of the Hammer’s biennial of Los Angeles-based artists, Made in L.A. 2018. Past group exhibitions organized for the Hammer include Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology (2014), which explored the overlapping strategies of appropriation and institutional critique in American art, and All of this and nothing (2011), which featured the work of fourteen international artists, among others. Her recent solo shows include those with Sam Falls, Kevin Beasley, Charles Gaines, John Outterbridge, Pedro Reyes, Frances Upritchard, Lily van der Stokker, and Judith Hopf.
Carolyn Castaño is a Colombian-American artist whose work in painting, drawing, and video has been shown in the U.S and abroad. She is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors (2013), the California Community Foundation Getty Fellow Mid-Career Grant (2011), and the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Grant (2011).
Castaño has had solo exhibitions at Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, Kontainer Gallery, Los Angeles, Lombard-Freid Fine Art, New York, and other venues. She was recently the subject of a survey exhibition titled Carolyn Castaño: A Female Topography at Loyola Marymount University’s Laband Art Gallery. Her work has also been featured in BardoLA’s collateral exhibition at the 56th Biennale di Venezia, We Must Risk Delight: Twenty Artists from Los Angeles; LACMA’s Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement and Fútbol: The Beautiful Game; and _International Pape_r at the Hammer Museum.
Castaño’s practice includes a curatorial track focused on issues of feminism, community, and collaboration. These include Filmic: Jordan Biren and Ursula Brookbank at PØST, Garden Party at the Fellows of Contemporary Art (co-curated with Hadley Holliday), and Favorite This! at the Meridian Gallery.
She has also worked as an artist and curatorial collaborator on multiple projects with two Los Angeles-based feminist collectives, the LA Art Girls and the Association of Hysteric Curators. Her work with the Art Girls includes the LA Art Girls Biennial at Phantom Galleries and Hysteria Deluxe at Angles Gallery. Her projects with the Hysterics include Home Economics at Cerritos College’s FAR Bazaar, Coming to the Table at the Angel’s Gate Cultural Center, and the upcoming performance festival Unruly in Los Angeles’ Chinatown district.
Carolyn has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute and a Masters in Fine Art from the UCLA School of Art and Architecture. She is currently Assistant Professor, Painting and Drawing at Long Beach City College, in Long Beach, CA.
Essence Harden is a Ph.D. candidate, independent curator, and writer. Essence has curated exhibitions at Charlie James Gallery, the California African American Museum (CAAM), Antenna Gallery (New Orleans), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), the Museum of the African Diaspora, the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Advocate and Gochis Galleries, and Residency Art Gallery (forthcoming in 2019). Essence’s writing has appeared in Leste Magazine, Performa Magazine, SFAQ: International Arts and Culture, and Everyday Feminism.
Essence graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in History from UC Berkeley in 2011. Essence received their Master of Arts from the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley in 2013 and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley.
Jamillah James is Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). With Margot Norton, she is curating the 2021 edition of the New Museum Triennial. Prior to joining ICA LA in 2016, James was Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, working in collaboration with the nonprofit Art + Practice. She has held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Queens Museum, Flushing, New York; and organized many exhibitions, performances, screenings, and public programs at alternative and artist-run spaces throughout the US and Canada since 2004.
Recent exhibitions include solo presentations of Rafa Esparza, Abigail DeVille, Sarah Cain, Simone Leigh, Alex Da Corte, Michele O’Marah, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby. James is currently working on major solo exhibitions of B. Wurtz and Nayland Blake, artist projects with Maryam Jafri and Lucas Blalock, as well as the group exhibition The Living End: Painting and Other Technologies 1970-Present (2020).
She has contributed texts to Artforum, the International Review of African American Art, and various institutional exhibition catalogues, most recently on artists Diamond Stingily, Barbara Hammer, and Nina Chanel Abney. James regularly lectures on contemporary art, curating, and professional development for emerging artists, and is a visiting critic in the graduate department at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena.