International art curator brings multicultural experience to Brandeis University
Though the art world is considered to be plagued with a lack of female representation, Ruth Estevez’s recent appointment as Senior Curator-at-Large of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts is a step in the right direction.
The Rose, a contemporary and modern art museum, announced Estevez’s appointment in January 2019. She will join a cohort of artists and organizers who, in partnership with the University, intend to affirm and advance “the values of freedom of expression, academic excellence, global diversity, and social justice that are the hallmarks of Brandeis University,” according to the museum’s mission statement.
The extent and diversity of Estevez’s experiences in the art world are expected to complement the stated intentions of the museum. Luis Croquer, the Rose’s Henry and Lois Foster Director and Chief Curator, said of the newly-appointed curator’s qualifications: “Ruth’s extensive knowledge of contemporary art practice and her experience questioning and mining existing structures will play a key role in shaping the museum’s future and will serve as a connector to the rest of the world.”
Estevez’s “extensive knowledge” is largely defined by her engagement with a multiplicity of cultures and locales. She splits her time living between Mexico City and Los Angeles, with her resume toting independently organized exhibitions in Spain, France, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
These cross-cultural experiences offer promising insight for her new position. As a curator, she will select works for and subsequently organize art exhibitions. An expansive multicultural awareness—which Estevez’s experience suggests she has—is crucial to creating a functional ‘canon’ of art: that is, an exhibition which is accurately representative of the time, place and culture it claims to represent.
“I’m interested in creating multidisciplinary programs that cross boundaries between visual arts, performing arts and spatial practice and plan to bring forward a plurality of voices, inspired by the longtime legacy of social justice at Brandeis University,” Estevez said.
Among the “plurality of voices” that she intends to showcase at the Rose, it is inevitable that her own voice as a Spanish-born woman will be, and likely already is, influential in how she approaches, interacts with, interprets and presents art. Given the historically male-dominated art world, the gender imbalance in artist representation may very well be one of the topics that Estevez, in collaboration with the museum and university staff and faculty, will chose to confront within the museum’s exhibitions.
Estevez’s passion for social justice leads her intentions to create what she described as “an experimental program that will touch political and social issues from a variety of perspectives and exhibition methodologies.” This goal is apt to appropriately accompany the Rose’s exhibitions already set for the coming year. Howardena Pindell’s “What Remains to be Seen,” scheduled Feb. 1 through May 19, “explores the intersection of art and activism…as well as personal and political art,” according to the museum’s website. The museum will also feature Gordon Matta-Clark’s exhibition, “Gordon Matta-Clark: Anarchitect,” in the latter half of the year into January of 2020, which “highlights the political dialogue inherent in Matta-Clark’s artistic interventions.”
Ruth Estevez, in her new position at The Rose, is one to watch in the coming year, and we are excited to see what art she will bring to the table.
(Feature image by Yvonne Venegas)