Clara Kim has been named Senior Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center, effective August 1. Kim is currently Gallery Director and Curator of REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) in Los Angeles. She will lead the artistic vision of the Walker’s visual arts department; promote new acquisitions, exhibitions, publications, and artist-based residencies; and serve as artistic liaison with local, regional, national, and international artists and partners.
“I am honored to be joining the team at the Walker,” Kim said. “It is in many ways a homecoming for me, returning to the place where I began my curatorial career as an intern over 14 years ago. The Walker has had a formidable and lasting impact on me both professionally and critically. I am eager about the prospect of returning to build upon the Walker’s incredible legacy—taking its singular programming in new and exciting directions.”
Kim has been on the staff of REDCAT since its inception in 2003, first as Assistant Curator and, since 2008, as Gallery Director and Curator. REDCAT is California Institute of the Arts’ (CalArts) downtown center for innovative visual, media, and performing arts. It is committed to producing newly commissioned work by local and international artists who challenge the norms of mainstream practices. REDCAT is located in Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, the Frank Gehry-designed arts complex that also houses the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
At REDCAT, Kim has organized residencies, commissions, exhibitions, and catalogues with particular focus on contemporary artistic practices of the Pacific Rim. She is known for her global perspective, her experimental and cross-disciplinary approach, and her support of emerging and mid-career artists.
“Clara has played such an important role in establishing REDCAT as an influential international center for contemporary culture that it is hard to imagine REDCAT without her, but this new appointment at the Walker Art Center, one of the nation’s most respected arts institutions, is a cause for celebration,” said REDCAT executive director Mark Murphy. “I know that Clara’s passion will continue to be felt around the world, including here in L.A., even if she is based in Minneapolis.”
Among Kim’s recent curatorial projects was the acclaimed Small Case Study House (2009), a three-month residency and commissioned installation at REDCAT by the groundbreaking Tokyo architecture firm Atelier Bow Wow. The exhibition responded to contemporary models for housing in Los Angeles as they relate to concepts of customization and re-use. The L.A. Times said the show offered “a critique of American excess and a preview of the nation’s decline, without wanting to give up on an admiration for the resiliency of our culture.”
Kim was also one of the co-curators (under artistic director Kim Sunjung) of the 2010 Media City Seoul—an international biennial organized by the city of Seoul with over 40 international artists. The exhibition Trust offered a broad interpretation of media technology as it relates to local histories and the formation of new imagined communities.
Kim’s other recent exhibitions have featured the work of artists Chen Chiehjen, Haegue Yang, Dave McKenzie, Olga Koumoundouros, Walid Raad, and Abraham Cruzvillegas, among others. She has also produced publications on the works of Yang, Raad, Cruzvillegas, and Renata Lucas. In 2008, Yang’s Yearning Melancholy Red was co-produced by REDCAT and the Walker as
part of the Walker’s Haegue Yang: Integrity of the Insider exhibition.
Prior to REDCAT, Kim worked in curatorial departments at SFMOMA and at the San Francisco Art Institute and as a Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest curatorial intern at the Walker Art Center.
Kim will join the Walker in August 2011 after the completion of a major international conference in Los Angeles on alternative practices and models—a project funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
“Clara has emerged as a singular voice among curators,” said Walker chief curator Darsie Alexander. “Her broad perspective on contemporary art, enthusiastic engagement of new curatorial practices and partnerships, and deep connection to artists are the foundation of remarkable career. We are delighted that she will be joining the staff at the Walker, bringing a fresh and exciting perspective on our legacy and future in the visual arts.”
Kim received a bachelor of arts in art history at the University of California-Berkeley and a master of arts in the humanities at the University of Chicago. She is the recipient of grants from the American Center Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council. She has contributed to Contemporary Magazine, Art Asia Pacific, and Art in Asia. She has lectured widely, participated in panels at national arts and educational institutions, and served on national juries for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, the California Community Foundation, and Headlands Center for the Arts.