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ICA's New Curator: Anthony Elms

November 8, 2011, Volume 58, No. 11


The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania announced that Anthony Elms will be joining the ICA as Associate Curator. He has worked as an independent curator and writer, and he was assistant director of Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago for six years. He edits and is the curator of White Walls, an alternative space for artists’ publication projects founded in the 1970s. Mr. Elms is just completing work as part of the organizational team behind this year’s Performa visual art performance biennial in New York.

“It is common to think of museums like the ICA as non-collecting, but that isn’t true,” Mr. Elms said. “They do not have art objects, but they collect histories and experiences with the artists that have exhibited. In that sense, I could not be happier to join a museum with the distinguished and energetic collection of the ICA.”

“I am looking forward to having Anthony’s vision, and his passion for publications, enrich the work of our stellar curatorial team,” said Robert Chaney, Interim Director.

“We met Anthony when he co-curated the Sun Ra exhibition that ICA hosted, organized by Hyde Park Art Center,” added Senior Curator Ingrid Schaffner. “This is a wonderful outcome to our first collaboration.”

His recent projects include Blast Counterblast; More Alive Than Those Who Made Them; Glenn Ligon / A People on the Cover, and Unicorn Basking in the Light of Three Glowing Suns. He was a co-curator of Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn and Chicago’s Afro-Futurist Underground 1954-1968, which enjoyed enormous success when it traveled to ICA in 2009. His writings have appeared in Afterall, Art Asia Pacific, Art Papers, Artforum, May Revue, Modern Painters, New Art Examiner, and Time Out Chicago, and he has also written essays for numerous catalogues. He received a BFA in painting from Michigan State University and an MFA from the University of Chicago, and he continues to exhibit as an artist.

Almanac - November 8, 2011, Volume 58, No. 11