This site uses cookies. Privacy Policy.

A selfie of someone with a pair of glasses and wavy black hair with brown highlights wearing gray...
A photographic portrait of someone wearing a black short sleeve t shirt against a white metal door...
From Teen Curators, Melanie Marin and Myka Modeste
Protrait of an Asian man in black and white suite against a gray wall smiling to the camera with...
Christoper Lew

As part of their in-depth engagement with A body, revealed, our Teen Curators had the opportunity to interview artists, curators, and gallerists about Kevin Beasley’s practice. Christopher Lew is the chief executive director of the Horizon Foundation, Los Angeles. Previously, he was a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, where he curated Beasley’s solo exhibition, Kevin Beasley: A View of A Landscape. This interview excerpt has been edited for length and clarity.

Melanie: Hi. My name is Melanie. I’m one of the teen curators from the Hill Art Foundation. My other classmate here with us is Myka. We’re both glad we have the chance to interview you today. 

Christopher: Thank you Melanie. 

Melanie: In the interview we’d like to discuss a bit more about your career and your foundation, the Horizon Art Foundation. One of the questions to start us off is, what role in society do you think contemporary POC artists have today? What do you think is the importance of uplifting these voices in the art world? 

Christoper: I think the role for POC artists in many ways is like any artist: To really question and critique society, the world that we live in, raise important questions, and also kind of examine what is it about contemporary life (what is it that we’re living in)–what is happening, and to pose the questions about literally what while we’re in, in any current moment. Which I think is often very hard to understand until that time has passed. 

It’s easy to look back in history and then feel like we know what that is. It’s much harder, when we’re literally living in the moment and trying to suss it out. Especially such a crazy time it has been these last two years or even longer than that. I think in particular for POC artists, especially in this country, there’s a lot to examine. There’s a lot that is not taught in, say mainstream education, or just even in the media. I would say it’s not just the job of POCs in that sense, but there is a need to bring these issues or histories to light that often are not known as widely. I think that also serves to project other types of images that are said to be lacking within mainstream media; celebrate the lives of a range and diversity of people in that sense. 

Melanie: Yeah, I completely agree with you bringing up the point of how a lot that’s happened over the past two years. I feel it’s really important because POC artists don’t really get exposed too much to the mainstream media, and art in general. It’s not something taught about in school, as much as it should be. I completely agree with you, on that stance. This leads us to the next question. How will you reshape how art is encountered and understood as your new role as chief and artistic director of the Horizon Foundation?

Christoper:  What I’m doing with Horizon, it’s primarily a residency program based in LA. We’re inviting emerging to mid-career artists and we’re trying to give emphasis to artists of color. Have them come to LA to spend two to three months there, providing them with a place to live. There’s a large studio to work in, and budgets will allow them to take the time to experiment and make work. We’re not expecting that they make necessarily finished works, but that they can take chances, fail, and experiment in that way. It’s quite different from putting on an exhibition. There’s less of a public eye to what they’re doing. In that sense, they can take those chances and not have to worry about their final outcome. A lot of what I had been doing prior to Horizon was making exhibitions at museums. At the Whitney where I was before, or MoMA PS1 prior to that, there’s a date the show has to open to the public and you need to get it done. It’s a different kind of pressure there whereas, in a residency, we want to have something that’s a little bit less defined. We don’t have to make a press release or a wall text to describe what it is like. They can mess around, experiment and take chances.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now