Guggenheim curator Ashley James sees ‘a certain kind of possibility’ in new role

Sarah Charlesworth, Herald Tribune: November 1977, 2008.

Image courtesy of Kristopher McKay and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Ashley James, the Guggenheim's first full-time Black curator, is revamping and realizing the museum's exhibition of Black artists. Writing for NBCNews, Julianne McShane chronicles the journey and debut of James' exhibition Off the Record. The curator offers insight into her inspiration for Off the Record, which questions the assumption of objectivity in historical records, journalism, and photography. For James, the exhibition promptly arrives at a time when art museums are in vexed positions in the wake of George Floyd's death. Yet, James also reminds readers that the show is also timeless, stating, "This show is the same show that I would have done a year ago, two years ago, because what guides my practice and will continue to, I think, is bridging this kind of gap between contemporary art and the large questions that govern our contemporary world.”

“What emerged were artists who really identified the record or document as the material by which they could make the same claim towards revising history, reimagining history, refusing history,”- Ashley James