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UC San Diego Launches a Curatorial Fellowship Program

originally posted by UC San Diego University Art Gallery

La Jolla–Innovative projects emerge at the the UC San Diego University Art Gallery (UAG) under the artistic guidance of Curatorial Fellow Michelle Y. Hyun. The UAG and Visual Arts Department are pleased to welcome Hyun as the first recipient of the UAG Curatorial Fellowship award. This two-year paid Fellowship allows emerging curators to produce a series of exhibitions and projects for the UAG while participating in the intellectual and creative life of the visual arts department. The UC San Diego Visual Arts Department is one of the few in the country to blend advanced graduate research in both art history and art practice in a single scholarly community. Hyun, in accepting the position, identified this “rare combination of scholarly resources and experimental nature of the department as one of the most appealing things about the Fellowship.”

Hyun’s breadth of curatorial practices makes her an ideal candidate for the Curatorial Fellowship, according to Grant Kester, art history professor and UAG director at UC San Diego. She has already developed an impressive resume of exhibitions, production and programming at prestigious institutions, including the New Museum, the Hessel Museum, the Avery Center for Film, and Creative Time, he said. Kester also notes that “Hyun has consistently worked across the grain of conventional curatorial practice, focusing much of her practice on site-specific performance and installation work, as well as innovative forms of public programming.” Hyun’s emphasis on implementing artistic practices outside of traditional art world settings has a clear connection to the visual art department’s established “Public Culture” emphasis.

Hyun is a recent graduate of the Master’s in Curatorial Studies program from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and has an undergraduate degree in International Political Economy from George Washington University. Her background in political theory gives Hyun a unique perspective on curatorial practice and is relevant to new developments in the field of contemporary art practice. Hyun has curated a wide range of innovative projects including exhibitions, screenings, public interventions, and satellite exhibitions.

One of the main goals of the Fellowship is to enhance diversity, as well as the dialogue around diversity, in the curatorial profession. Kester explains that curating is a “key ‘gate-keeping’ profession in the visual arts” and that the Fellowship “responds to the chronic under-representation of people with diverse life experiences and backgrounds in the curatorial profession.” As Kester notes, “issues of diversity have long been central to the UAG.” Exhibitions over the past several years have included a solo show by Luis Gispert, a retrospective of works by the Cuban photographer Mario Algaze, the first solo exhibition of the young African-American artist lauren woods, a solo show dedicated to Ken Gonzales-Day’s work exploring the history of lynching in the American Southwest, and one of the first exhibitions in the United States to present the work of contemporary art collectives working in Argentina. The UAG also has a long-standing commitment to new and diverse forms of artistic practice, hosting some of the earliest exhibitions of performance and installation art on the west coast, and maintaining and ongoing commitment to collective and collaborative forms of artistic practice.

The Curatorial Fellowship Program continues this tradition, allowing ambitious young curators to use the UAG space, and the broader campus as a practical laboratory for new curatorial approaches. Hyun will work closely with Kester and the UAG Exhibitions Manager, Merete Kjaer, as she materializes her ideas. She will have the creative freedom to explore resources and establish relationships across the university as well as the local community as she plans future exhibitions and programming.

Michelle Y. Hyun is a cultural producer and researcher working with the conditions and interrelationships of publics, space, discourse, and pedagogy. Such work has manifested in the collaborative production of projects with artists and organizations such as Public Movement (Tel Aviv, est. 2006), “SALONS: Birthright Palestine?” a performative salon series commissioned for the New Museum Triennial “The Ungovernables” (2012); and Bik Van der Pol (Rotterdam, est. 1995), “Elements of Composition [As Above, So Below]” a site-specific public installation, walking tour series, and publication commissioned for Creative Time’s “Living as Form” exhibition (2011). Hyun’s work has been realized as part of various curatorial projects including “Dear Pratella, what do you hear?” at CCS Bard, New York (2011), an experimental research exhibition investigating the critical potential of sound art in various socio-spatial, temporal, and discursive contexts; “CLAP” at the Hessel Museum of Art, New York (2011), a collaborative reconsideration of the Marieluise Hessel Collection emphasizing the “exterior life” and sound of objects; “This is Swipe Country” (2010), an intervention of internet advertising space; and “Expanding and Destroying the Archive” (2009) at The Center for Film, Electronic Arts, and Music at the Milton and Sally Avery Center for the Arts, New York, a conversation with and screening of video works by Peggy Ahwesh alongside orphan films from her collection. Hyun received her BA in International Political Economy from George Washington University and MA in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. She is currently the 2012-2014 Curatorial Fellow at the University of California San Diego University Art Gallery.

Media Contacts:
Grant Kester,
Merete Kjaer,
Sheena Ghanbari,, 858-822-7755

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