The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has appointed Clara Kim as Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs. Kim begins her role at MOCA on September 1, 2022.
"I could not be more excited to announce that Clara Kim is joining MOCA at this pivotal moment in the institution’s history and as I begin my own tenure here. Clara is a talented and trusted curator and arts leader," said Johanna Burton, The Maurice Marciano Director of MOCA. "She has extensive experience commissioning, presenting, and contextualizing contemporary artists; leading global, interdisciplinary research initiatives; and strategically building collections. Her vision will help extend and expand the museum’s distinctive legacy as we look ahead to our next era."
As a native of Southern California, Kim’s deep roots and commitment to the art scene of Los Angeles will inform her work at MOCA—both locally rooted and globally-minded. Her interest in the Pacific Rim, as well as the rich interconnected histories and cultures within diasporic communities in Southern California, will shape her vision for the curatorial team and program.
"Throughout my career, I have championed art through exhibitions, residencies, and commissions, driven by the fundamental belief in the possibility of cultural dialogue and exchange to transform individuals and communities," said Kim. "As a diverse, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic city, Los Angeles is uniquely positioned to chart new paths and horizons for contemporary art and what museums should look like in the 21st century. I am excited about returning to my home city, to the wonderful networks of artists, galleries, collectors, philanthropists, art schools, and museums, and this dynamic and ever-changing place where art is made, debated, and celebrated."
Kim comes to MOCA from Tate Modern, where she has been The Daskalopoulos Senior Curator of International Art since 2016. She has 20 years of experience working in museums and non-profit organizations in the US, Europe, and Asia, curating insightful exhibitions, envisioning impactful commissions and artist residencies, and bridging modern and contemporary art with public discourse and critical debate. Her international perspective championing cosmopolitan readings of art history with an anti-racist and decolonial view, as well as the centering artistic perspectives, will shape her curatorial vision for MOCA.
Her work at Tate involved the strategic building and expansion of Tate’s collection, particularly post-colonial and transnational art histories that re-chart and re-map narratives of art. At Tate Modern, she curated a survey exhibition on the work of artist/filmmaker Steve McQueen (2020) and the Turbine Hall commission Kara Walker: Fons Americanus (2019), as well as co-convened the international symposia Axis of Solidarity: Landmarks, Platforms, Futures with Cornell University and Sharjah Art Foundation (Feb 2019) and Crucibles, Vectors, Catalysts: Envisioning the Modern City (March 2020) with the Liverpool School of Architecture. Externally, she curated the 2018 Gwangju Biennale and Condemned to be Modern (2017)— which looked at the contested legacies of modernism in Latin America through contemporary artists, which was part of Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative.
Prior to Tate, Kim served as Senior Curator of Visual Arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where she led the visual arts department and curated Abraham Cruzvillegas’ acclaimed mid-career survey exhibition The Autocontrucción Suites (2013 Walker; traveled to Haus der Kunst, Munich 2014; Museo Amparo, Puebla and Fundación/Colección Jumex, Mexico City 2014). Before that, she was Gallery Director & Curator at REDCAT in Los Angeles, where she commissioned and presented exhibitions by Atelier Bow-Wow, Edgar Arceneaux, Charles Gaines, Renata Lucas, Walid Raad, and Haegue Yang, among others.
"I'm thrilled that MOCA is bringing Clara Kim back to Los Angeles," said artist and MOCA Trustee Mark Bradford. "Having worked with her closely myself, I know that she is an exceptional curator who deeply supports artists and their ecosystems. She has a strong international reputation and expertise, and she has retained meaningful roots and connections in L.A. Clara's experience, vision, and values will be a tremendous addition to MOCA."