Kelly Kivland named Chief Curator & Director of Exhibitions

Thu, May 06, 2021

Beginning August 2, 2021, Kelly Kivland will be the Chief Curator & Director of Exhibitions for the Wexner Center for the Arts, the multidisciplinary contemporary art laboratory at The Ohio State University. Kivland comes to the center from Dia Art Foundation in New York, where as Curator she has been integral in guiding the programmatic vision across multiple spaces. She’s been with the foundation since 2011, having worked her way up over the past decade from the position of Curatorial Associate.

At Dia, Kivland has organized exhibitions, led commissions, and produced public programs such as the Artists on Artists Lecture series. Her curatorial work there includes solo exhibitions and projects focused on Nancy Holt, Isabel Lewis, Steve Paxton, and Joëlle Tuerlinckx, as well as upcoming single-artist shows at Dia with Maren Hassinger and Joan Jonas. Recent projects include the acclaimed installation Party/After-Party by Carl Craig, as well as the digital commission May amnesia never kiss us on the mouth by Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme. Kivland has authored numerous essays, catalogues, and other publications in conjunction with these efforts. She has also overseen partnerships to steward two permanent works of Land Art that are part of Dia's collection: Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels and Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty.

Throughout Kivland’s career are instances of the curator expanding her collaborations with artists practicing in a variety of disciplines, along with numerous stints as a guest critic, juror, lecturer, and panelist. She’s worked with organizations and institutions in the US and abroad including the Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI); the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and the Walker Art Center; and is currently on the board of the biannual journal Fence.

In her new role at the Wex, Kivland will work closely with Executive Director Johanna Burton and peers in Film/Video, Learning & Public Practice, and Performing Arts. She will help conceive and execute a robust exhibition calendar, cultivate and connect with audiences, oversee commissions and visual arts residencies, and foster collaborations across the university, the central Ohio community, and the field at large.

A native of the Chicago area with family connections to Ohio, Kivland holds a bachelor’s degree in Interarts and Technology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a master’s degree from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

“The role of Chief Curator & Director of Exhibitions at the Wex perfectly expands on my tenure at Dia Art Foundation,” says Kivland. “Throughout my career, I have supported collaboration between approaches, cultures, and disciplines. As Chief Curator & Director of Exhibitions, and together with artists, community members, and colleagues, I look forward to developing programming that supports an active dialogue on the role of the center within Columbus and prioritizes direct engagement throughout the Ohio State campus as well as within city neighborhoods. With each project, I look forward to advancing critical discussions on the condition, and importance, of art today.”

“With her multifaceted experience as a curator, administrator, and arts leader, Kivland feels exceptionally well suited to the Wex,” notes Burton. “She’s comfortable exploring how different disciplines can work together harmoniously, she’s developed strong relationships with artists and peer institutions, and in her time at Dia she has helped drive internal efforts toward diversity, equity, access, and inclusivity—all of which will amplify the Wex’s mission and initiatives. We’re so excited to welcome her to the team.”


About the Wexner Center for the Arts

The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University's multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, screenings, performances, artist residencies, and education programs, the Wexner Center acts as a forum where established and emerging artists can test ideas and where diverse audiences can participate in cultural experiences that enhance the understanding of the art of our time

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