The School of Art is pleased to announce a leading group of curators as Distinguished Critics for the 2021 MFA thesis exhibition. These curators—Karen Archey, José Carols Diaz, Jamillah James, and Sohrab Mohebbi—will join the full faculty in an all-day critique of Friends Forever, the MFA thesis exhibition. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the discussion will take place remotely.
This group of Distinguished Critics hails from institutions across the United States including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Andy Warhol Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and SculptureCenter, New York; and from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Their work has helped establish artists who are now recognized as some of today’s most important contemporary creators, and these curators continue to champion emerging critical voices.
About the Distinguished Critics:
Karen Archey is Curator of Contemporary Art at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, where she is responsible for the contemporary art and time-based media collections. Since joining the museum in 2017, Archey has organized solo exhibitions by artists Charlotte Prodger, Rineke Dijkstra, Stefan Tcherepnin, Catherine Christer Hennix, Steffani Jemison, Jeff Preiss, and Metahaven, and is currently organizing a major exhibition of the work of Hito Steyerl. Archey previously worked as an independent curator, art critic and editor for the New York-based organization e-flux.
José Carlos Diaz is Chief Curator at The Andy Warhol Museum, he has curated Farhad Moshiri: Go West; Andy Warhol: Revelation; and Fantasy America. He is currently organizing Paola Pivi: I Want It All and Becoming Andy Warhol. Prior to The Warhol, Diaz was Curator of Exhibitions at The Bass in Miami Beach, and he has also previously worked at Tate Liverpool and at the Liverpool Biennial. Diaz serves on the Board of Trustees for the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC), chaired the Curatorial Leadership Summit at The Armory Show in 2020, and was a 2018 fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership (CCL).
Jamillah James is Senior Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) and co-curator of 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; and held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, New York, in addition to producing exhibitions and programs at various alternative and artist-run spaces throughout the US and Canada since 2004. She has contributed to Artforum, Frieze, The International Review of African American Art, and numerous exhibition catalogues.
Sohrab Mohebbi is curator of the 58th Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art and curator-at-large at SculptureCenter, New York. Recent exhibitions include, Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit; Searching the Sky for Rain; Christian Nyampeta, École du soir; Banu Cennetoglu. Previously, Mohebbi was associate curator at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles and has also held curatorial posts at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Queens Museum in New. York. Mohebbi is also a contributing editor to Bidoun.
The Distinguished Critic program provides a capstone to the MFA program’s ongoing series of one-on-one studio visits from visiting artists, critics, arts professionals, academics, and other cultural leaders. The MFA thesis exhibition visiting critic program was made possible through the support of the College of Fine Arts.
Image left to right: Karen Archey (photo: Tomek Dersu Aaron), José Carlos Diaz (photo: Abby Warhola), Jamillah James, Sohrab Mohebbi (photo: Sabrina Santiago)