Art Institute of Chicago Appoints Grace Deveney Associate Curator of Photography and Media
LAST WEEK, Grace Deveney joined the Art Institute of Chicago as the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Associate Curator of Photography and Media. She is currently associate curator of Prospect.5, the contemporary art triennial in New Orleans. Deveney will serve in both roles concurrently, until she completes her tenure at the triennial, which opens in the fall (Oct. 23, 2021-Jan. 23, 2022). Her appointment at the Art Institute was effective July 14. The news was announced today.
Grace Deveney joined the Art Institute of Chicago as associate curator of photography and media. | Photo courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago
“Grace will continue to develop our departmental commitment to working across disciplines as we regularly reconsider the place of photography, and print and time-based media, in a fine-arts museum,” Matthew S. Witkovsky said in a statement. He is the Richard and Ellen Sandor Chair and Curator of Photography and Media and vice president for Strategic Art Initiatives at the Art Institute.
Witkovsky added: “Her deep knowledge of modern and contemporary African American art furthers a departmental interest in this field, ongoing for a decade, along with our sustained attention to work from the African continent. And Grace brings an indispensable thoughtfulness and intellectual curiosity.”
“Grace will continue to develop our departmental commitment to working across disciplines as we regularly reconsider the place of photography, and print and time-based media, in a fine-arts museum.” — Curator of Photography and Media Matthew S. Witkovsky
In 2019, Deveney moved to New Orleans to work with Prospect.5, which is being co-organized by artistic directors Naima Keith and Diana Nawi and will showcase works by about 50 artists. Originally scheduled to open in October 2020, the triennial was pushed back one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, Deveney held curatorial roles at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, from 2014-19. After starting as a Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow, she was hired as a curatorial assistant and rose to assistant curator. She worked on several exhibitions and presentations at MCA Chicago, including “Chicago Works: Amanda Williams,” “MCA Screen: Paul Pfeiffer,” and “Groundings,” which explored movement with multiple artists who work in dance, music, and performance.
She also organized a major survey of Christina Quarles at MCA Chicago, the Los Angeles-based artist’s largest museum exhibition to date. Currently on view, the exhibition was also affected by COVID and due to the museum’s closure was delayed by a year.
Working with th Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, Deveney is serving as 2020-21 curator of Art 365 in Oklahoma. The program provides the opportunity for five Oklahoma artists to collaborate with a nationally recognized curator and produce new work. Presentations by the selected artists are currently underway in Tulsa and are scheduled next month in Oklahoma City.
Deveney is completing a Ph.D., in art history at Northwestern University. Her doctoral thesis “explores relationships between popular television of the 1970s-1990s and the work of Howardena Pindell, Tony Cokes and Stan Douglas, three Black artists who interrogate the politics of representation.”
She has previous experience at the Art Institute of Chicago. Earlier in her career, she was a researcher for photography exhibitions (2011-13). In a statement about her new position, Deveney said: “I’m thrilled to be joining a department that encompasses photography and media more broadly and I look forward to applying my research background in photography and moving-image to my work with colleagues across the Art Institute.” CT
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Grace Deveney authored the exhibition catalog that accompanies a major survey of Christina Quarles at MCA Chicago. Deveney has also contributed to a few other publications, including “McArthur Binion: DNA,” “Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen,” and the forthcoming volume “Jamal Cyrus: The End of My Beginning” (expected in January 2022).