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The Curators: 6 to Watch

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There’s no denying the verb “curate” is grossly misused — we’ve even seen it used to describe making a mix CD.

But good museum curation is something to be lauded, and the craft is worthy of the lofty title.

The following curators made big news in 2010, and we can expect to see interesting things from them in the year ahead.

Gary Carrion-Murayari, Associate curator, New Museum of Contemporary Art: Last year, at 29, Gary Carrion-Murayari blew the New York art world away as co-curator of one of the most successful Whitney Biennials in recent history. Now at the New Museum, he has the support of director of exhibitions Massimiliano Gioni, and we can’t wait to see what he does.

Laura Hoptman, Curator, paintings and sculpture, MoMA: Last November, Laura Hoptman, 48, returned to MoMA, where she had worked from 1995 to 2001. She’s as known for her personal connections to prominent artists — including Elizabeth Peyton and Luc Tuymans — as she is for her ability to predict which emerging talents will take off. Her appointment has raised more than a few eyebrows, but you can bet whatever exhibitions she puts on will be talked about.

Massimiliano Gioni, Associate director and director of exhibitions, New Museum of Contemporary Art: It was big news this fall when Massimiliano Gioni, 36, was promoted to the top position of the curatorial department at the New Museum. His daring approach to exhibitions, including “Urs Fischer” and “Younger Than Jesus,” stirred ample controversy as well as praise, and the New Museum’s promotion is a clear sign that they’re not backing down from that aggressive aesthetic.

Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1: A longtime curator at PS1, Klaus Biesenbach, 43, this year turned the Queens outpost of MoMA into a destination all its own. In his first year as director, he successfully oversaw the return this spring of the survey show “Greater New York,” and oversaw a roster of inventive public programs.

Naomi Beckwith, Associate curator, Studio Museum in Harlem: In her brief tenure at the Studio Museum, Naomi Beckwith, 33, has consistently proven herself in increasingly ambitious projects. She also sits on the board of the Laundromat Project — a nonprofit arts organization that puts on exhibitions in laundromats in low-income communities.

Scott Rothkopf, Curator, Whitney Museum: Hired in late 2009, Scott Rothkopf is just one of a handful of talented curators contributing to the Whitney’s hot streak of exciting and revelatory exhibitions. But at 34, he’s already built a reputation as somewhat of an art-world smarty-pants.

 

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