Clara M. Kim
Current position: Senior curator of international art, Tate Modern
Clara M. Kim’s international outlook and familiarity with both established artists’ practices and underrepresented voices makes her especially qualified to help diversify the marquee programming at MoMA. Prior to joining Tate Modern
over two years ago as its senior curator of international art (with a focus on art from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East), she was a senior researcher at the Asian Cultural Complex in Gwangju, South Korea; curated a
exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum
in Shanghai, a
exhibition in São Paulo, and the Spotlight section at Frieze Masters and Frieze New York; was a program advisor for the Kadist Foundation; and served on the jury for the inaugural Hugo Boss Asia Art Award.
Kim got her start as a curatorial associate at SFMOMA
, but her career took off when she went to Southern California to work at the revered Los Angeles nonprofit REDCAT, where she served as director from 2007 to 2011. Kim left to become the Walker Art Center
’s senior curator, where she organized a major
survey, as well as Korean multimedia artist
’s first major solo museum show in the U.S., among other exhibitions.
Current position: Chief curator, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo
Though not as well-known in the U.S. as he should be, Cuauhtémoc Medina has ticked just about every box a contemporary art curator could be expected to prior to potentially landing a major gig like this one at MoMA. Since earning a Ph.D. in art history and theory from the University of Essex, he’s been a lecturer and researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico; served as Tate Modern’s inaugural associate curator of Latin American art collections (from 2002 to 2008); and was the head curator of the critically acclaimed
ninth edition of Manifesta in 2012. And late last year, he was appointed
to curate the upcoming Shanghai Biennale.
In his day job as the chief curator of the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Medina has curated exhibitions of artists ranging from
. Medina would bring intellectual and conceptual rigor to a role that, some have said
, has become defined by celebrity artists
and a populist tone in recent years.
Current position: N/A
Helen Molesworth certainly seems like a natural pick: Over a decades-long career, she’s held similar positions at Harvard Art Museums, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
, and MOCA Los Angeles, where her mission, as she told
the Los Angeles Times
soon after her hiring, was to “enter women into the canon or reinsert women who should have been in the canon to begin with.”
In 2016, she curated “
: Mastry,” the grand retrospective of the artist’s large-scale paintings that traveled from MOCA Los Angeles to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
and the Metropolitan Museum of Art
. But her firing
from MOCA by then-director Philippe Vergne in March set off a firestorm that eventually ensnared
the director, setting in motion the course of events that brought Biesenbach west. Perhaps Molesworth is already too close to the whole fracas to jump back in, but she is eminently qualified to take the curatorial helm at MoMA.
Current Position: Senior curator of contemporary art, Brooklyn Museum
Eugenie Tsai is such a perennial fixture at the Brooklyn Museum
that she may fly under the radar when major curatorial vacancies open elsewhere, but her track record makes her a serious contender. Since joining the Brooklyn Museum in 2007, Tsai has been involved
in many of its major contemporary art shows and initiatives, including exhibitions devoted to
, as well as the borough-surveying exhibition “Crossing Brooklyn” (2014) and series “Raw/Cooked” (2011–13).
Tsai has previously held positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art
and MoMA PS1, and as an independent curator, she has organized exhibitions devoted to
, and others. Her ability to stay abreast of the art community in her own backyard while championing the work of ascending international art stars—especially artists from Africa and the African diaspora—makes her a very strong candidate who would likely bring greater diversity to MoMA’s special exhibitions lineup, while also preserving the accessible approach that partially defined Biesenbach’s tenure.
Current position: Director, LAXART
By the time Hamza Walker joined the staff of Chicago’s Renaissance Society
in 1994, he had immersed himself in the study of not only contemporary artists including
, but also jazz and punk scenes
, the history of the Bayeux tapestry, ancient Irish texts, and the theories of the revered academic Benjamin H.D. Buchloh. After two decades there, Walker’s profile rose nationally when he co-curated the acclaimed 2016 edition
of the “Made in L.A.” biennial with Aram Moshayedi, and then moved to that city to take a job at LAXART, a nonprofit space that’s long been a vital part of the city’s ever-expanding art scene. It would be thrilling to see Walker’s diverse range of interests and expertise unleashed at MoMA’s home in midtown Manhattan.