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Harold Mendez, still from video "In Process: Harold Mendez"

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Jamilla James. Photo Credit: Paul Sepuya.

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Gean Moreno

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Christina Sharpe

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Amber Esseiva

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Harold Mendez: In Discussion

Wednesday, May 12

6:00 PM–7:00 PM


Join us for a discussion with artist Harold Mendez, writer Christina Sharpe, ICA LA Senior Curator Jamillah James, and Director of the Knight Art + Research Center Gean Moreno as part of Mendez’s exhibition Let us gather in a flourishing way.

This conversation will be moderated by ICA Associate Curator Amber Esseiva.

Harold Mendez’s solo exhibition Let us gather in a flourishing way is currently on view at the ICA at VCU. Mendez has taken part in numerous exhibitions such as Being: New Photography (2018) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Minneapolis Institute of Art; the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago; and the Colección Diéresis, Guadalajara, Mexico. Mendez is currently based in Los Angeles.

Christina Sharpe is a writer, Professor, and Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities at York University. She is the author of: In the Wake: On Blackness and Being and Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects. Her third book, Ordinary Notes, will be published in 2022 (Knopf/FSG/Daunt). She is also working on a monograph called Black. Still. Life. She has recently published essays in Art in AmericaAlison Saar Of Aether and EartheGrief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, and Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing.

Gean Moreno is Director of the Knight Art + Research Center at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. In this capacity, he oversees the Center’s operations and digital initiatives, develops pedagogical and discursive platforms, commissions publications and long-term research projects. He is also part of ICA, Miami’s curatorial team, and has recently curated exhibitions dedicated to the work of Terry Adkins, Larry Bell, and Ettore Sottsass. Moreno was an adviser to the 2017 Whitney Biennial and the 2018 Creative Time Summit. In 2008, he founded [NAME] Publications, a press dedicated to field-advancing art theory, and through which he has worked with numerous international institutions, including Kunsthalle Zurich and VanAbbe Museum. He regularly contributed texts to various publications, most recently to e-flux journal, Kaleidoscope, and Art in America, and various exhibition catalogues and anthologies. He has lectured at numerous institutions, including New York University, Tyler School of Art, Goldsmiths, University of Florida, and Umea Art Academy. He has also been adjunct faculty at Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University. In Summer 2019, Verso released an anthology that he edited, In the Mind, But Not From There: Real Abstraction and Contemporary Art.

Jamillah James is Senior Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA) and co-curator of the 2021 edition of the New Museum Triennial. Prior to joining ICA LA in 2016, James was Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem and Queens Museum, New York, in addition to producing exhibitions and programs at various alternative and artist-run spaces throughout the US and Canada since 2004. She has curated major surveys of Nayland Blake (No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake, 2019) and B. Wurtz (This Has No Name, 2018); several thematic group exhibitions, including The Inconstant World (2021), A Shape That Stands Up (2016), and sisters and brothers (2014); and solo exhibitions of Lucas Blalock, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Alex Da Corte, rafa esparza, Ann Greene Kelly, Maryam Jafri, Stanya Kahn, Simone Leigh, and Harold Mendez, among others. James is a recipient of a Curatorial Research Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (2021) and a VIA Art Foundation Curatorial Fellowship (2018). She has contributed to Artforum, Frieze, Art in America, The International Review of African American Art and numerous exhibition catalogues, and regularly lectures on contemporary art, curating, and professional development for emerging artists.

Amber Esseiva is the Associate Curator at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA VCU). A VCUarts alumna, Esseiva has been essential to the ICA’s programming since joining the institution. Esseiva curated select commissions from the ICA’s inaugural exhibition, Declaration (2018), and curated shows featuring work by Corin Hewitt, Jonathas de Andrade, Julianne Swartz, and others. Most recently, she curated a solo exhibition with LA-based artist Kandis Williams, A Field, which is currently on view at the ICA.

Previously, she curated the ICA’s Great Force (October 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020), an exhibition featuring new commissions and recent work by an intergenerational group of 24 artists, exploring how art can be used to envision new forms of race and representation freed from the bounds of historic racial constructs. Esseiva has also curated Provocations: Guadalupe Maravilla (November 9, 2019 – July 1, 2020), the second iteration of the ICA’s annual commission series, which debuts new work by the El Salvador-born multidisciplinary artist and a solo exhibition by Martine Syms (February 16, 2019 – May 12, 2019).

Esseiva received her M.A. in 2015 from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard). At CCS Bard, she curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions featuring works by artists such as David Altmejd, Louisa Chase, Roe Ethridge, Gabriel Orozco, Jason Rhoades, Mika Rottenberg, Kenny Scharf, and Avery K. Singer. She also co-founded the interdisciplinary curatorial journal aCCeSsions and was appointed the curator of the 2014 M.F.A. graduate thesis exhibition at Bard MFA Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. In addition to thesis exhibitions, she has worked closely with M.F.A and B.F.A students through professional development and mentorships. From 2015 to 2016, she worked extensively curating exhibitions by emerging and mid-career artists. Highlights include Anything on a Surface has Space, a discursive event at The Judd Foundation; and a solo exhibition by artist and VCU alum Alina Tenser at A.I.R. Gallery. After her stay at CCS Bard, Esseiva was appointed director of Retrospective gallery in Hudson, NY; and curator at SEPTEMBER, in Hudson, NY.