The Whitney Museum in New York has appointed Adrienne Edwards as its Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance. She will start at the Whitney this May.
Edwards is well-known for her work with Performa, where she has helped curate performance commissions since 2010. At the New York–based biennial, she has organized various thematic presentations, including last year’s “Afroglossia,” which focused on African performance art and featured new works by Teju Cole, Wangechi Mutu, and Tracey Rose, and she has helped engineer partnerships with New York institutions such as the Anthology Film Archives, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.
In addition to her projects for Performa, Edwards was curator at large at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She has held that position since 2016, and is currently organizing a survey of work by the jazz pianist Jason Moran for the museum that will later travel to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. Edwards also co-led a $1 million Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary Initiative, which supported multidisciplinary projects at the Walker.
Outside of her work for museums and biennials, Edwards has independently curated exhibitions at galleries, most notably “Blackness in Abstraction,” an expansive survey of the color black in non-figurative work, for New York’s Pace Gallery in 2016. She has also contributed to Art in America, Aperture, and Parkett, among other publications. This May, she will curate a project by Kapwani Kiwanga, who was named winner of this year’s Frieze Artist Award, and a “Live” program of time-based work at the Frieze New York art fair.
Scott Rothkopf, the deputy director for programs and the chief curator at the Whitney, said in a statement, “Adrienne has distinguished herself as one of the most innovative curators working in performance today by engaging artists across diverse disciplines and often challenging them to explore new genres and experimental forms. She brings to the Whitney a wonderful complement of scholarly rigor, social commitment, and a deeply humane understanding of artists and their audiences.”