AN INFLUENTIAL FIGURE IN THE ART WORLD, Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem is expanding her institutional reach to the West Coast. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) announced the election of three new members to its board of trustees today, including Golden. Caroline Grainge and Soumaya Slim were also appointed to the museum’s board.
“LACMA’s board is a diverse, multi-talented group,” said Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of LACMA in a press release. “Caroline’s extensive business savvy and Thelma’s and Soumaya’s vast experience in leading major cultural institutions will be significant for us as we look to the future.”
“Caroline’s extensive business savvy and Thelma’s and Soumaya’s vast experience in leading major cultural institutions will be significant for us as we look to the future.” — Michael Govan, CEO and Director of LACMA
GOLDEN WAS APPOINTED deputy director of the Studio Museum in 2000 and has led the institution since 2005, carrying out the museum’s founding mission to provide a platform for African American artists and international artists of African descent. The museum’s spring exhibitions include “Rodney McMillan: Views of Main Street,” works by Rashaad Newsome, and an installation by Ebony G. Patterson.
For more than 16 years, Golden has served as a mentor to talented curators, identified emerging artists and presented the work of overlooked mid-career and veteran practitioners. During her tenure, the Studio Museum has provided groundbreaking exhibition opportunities to some of the most critically recognized artists working today, including Hurvin Anderson, Charles Gaines, Barkley L. Hendricks, Glenn Ligon, Kori Newkirk, Chris Ofili, Stanley Whitney, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, along with architect David Adjaye and designer Stephen Burks.
Under Golden’s leadership, the museum’s signature artist-in-residence program has continued to thrive, counting among its alumni Kevin Beasley, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Simone Leigh, Julie Mehretu, Meleko Mokgosi, Jennifer Packer, Xaviera Simmons, Mickalene Thomas, Cullen Washington Jr., and Kehinde Wiley.
AFTER GRADUATING FROM SMITH COLLEGE, Golden began her career as a young curator at the Studio Museum in 1987. Then she joined the Whitney Museum of American Art, becoming its first black curator. She spent a decade (1988-1998) at the Whitney organizing many exhibition, most significantly “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in American Art” in 1994.
She serves as the 2015–16 chair of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group and on the Professional Fine Arts Committee and is the recipient of the 2016 Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence.
Golden’s footprint is already global and, in recent years, her thought leadership has spread to the highest ranks in Washington. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed her a member of the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, and she joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s board of directors in 2015. She is also a member of the Professional Fine Art Committee of the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies. With the appointment to LACMA’s board, her institutional reach expands to Los Angeles, a burgeoning art capital.
In recent years, Golden’s influence has spread to Washington. With the appointment to LACMA’s board, her institutional reach expands to Los Angeles, a burgeoning art capital.
OVER THE PAST YEAR, LACMA organized “Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada” and presented “Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist”—two major exhibitions featuring the work of African American artists. Its current programming includes “Senses of Time: Video and Film-based works of Africa.”
In February, LACMA’s contemporary acquisitions committee announced its 2016 purchases, including “Luanda-Kinshasa,” the museum’s first work by Canadian multimedia artist Stan Douglas. The film “presents an aural essay on jazz as an expression of the black consciousness of the 1970s,” and was jointly acquired wth the Perez Art Museum, Miami (PAMM). Franklin Sirmans, PAMM’s new director, previously served as LACMA’s curator and department head of Contemporary Art.
“We are pleased to welcome Thelma Golden, Caroline Grainge, and Soumaya Slim to LACMA’s board of trustees,” said LACMA board co-chairs Tony Ressler and Elaine Wynn. “Each of these trustees has a vested interest in the arts and we look forward to adding their robust skillsets to the board.”
With the new appointments, LACMA has 54 voting trustees, plus an additional 14 individuals who are life trustees. CT
IMAGE: Thelma Golden, Photo by Julie Skarratt. Provided by LACMA