The past two days brought exciting news for Chief Curator Wassan Al-Khudhairi of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM), an Arts and Education Council grantee.  Al-Khudhairi will be the Focus Curator for the 2021 Armory Show in New York City, and is the VIA Art Fund’s 2021 Curatorial Fellow.

Al-Khudhairi joined the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis as Chief Curator in 2017. You can look back at the conversation we had with Al-Khudhairi when she joined CAM here. Most recently, Al-Khudhairi curated "SHELTER" by Derek Fordjour at CAM, which was on view from Jan. through Aug. Fordjour, for his first major solo museum exhibition, constructed an environment that places viewers in the heart of a storm. "SHELTER" also offered new meanings with After Shelter, a microprogram that took place beginning in July, inviting visitors to record reflections on their COVID-19 experiences within the immersive installation.

CAM Executive Director Lisa Melandri shared her thoughts on this major recognition, “It’s wonderful to see Wassan receive such notable and well-deserved acclaim. We knew when she came to CAM she would be a force for intelligent, thoughtful and timely programming. From her very first exhibition here, Hayv Kahraman: "Acts of Reparation", in 2017, to Derek Fordjour: "SHELTER", in 2020, and next year’s museum-wide group exhibition, "Stories of Resistance", Wassan expands our view of the art world and helps us realize the possibilities of what art can be and do.”

The next edition of The Armory Show will be the first to be held at the Javits Center in central Manhattan in Sept. 2021. Al-Khudhairi will curate the Focus section of the fair, dedicated to solo- and dual-artist presentations of today’s most relevant and compelling artworks. A highlight of the fair, Focus provides additional opportunities for galleries to exhibit at The Armory Show by offering a subsidized rate.

The VIA Art Fund 2021 Curatorial Fellowship includes a $25,000 award. Selected through a nomination process that includes colleagues, constituents, and VIA partners, the VIA Curatorial Fellowship is an annual award supporting visionary curatorial voices. The fellowship provides discretionary funds to midcareer curators to enable aspirational research and reflection, and to support travel or other scholarly endeavors designed to enhance a curator’s individual practice.

Al-Khudhairi expressed her gratitude for the award, “Curating should not happen in a vacuum and the ability to build points of connection with people in the community, through artist studio visits, experiencing art in real life, or attending an art biennial is crucial. The generosity of the fellowship creates greater possibilities for research and travel giving my work the opportunity to thrive in new ways.”

St. Louisans can see "Stories of Resistance", organized by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, with Misa Jeffereis, Assistant Curator, at the Contemporary Art Museum in Spring 2021. Stories of Resistance examines the myriad ways in which resistance takes form across the world.

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