At PORT we've all known for a while that our pal MK Guth
was stepping down as PNCA's MFA chair, especially after being in the last Whitney Biennial. What wasn't clear is if they could get some similar star power to replace her, yet they needed it. Now with noted curator (SF's Yerba Buena) and artist Arnold Kemp
, it looks like they have the star hire they needed. In fact, Portland's professional portfolio of leaders just continues to improve... here's PNCA's release:
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) announces the appointment of Arnold J. Kemp as Chair of the Master's of Fine Arts in Visual Studies program
"We are so pleased to appoint Arnold Kemp, with his great strengths in so many spheres of the art world," said Greg Ware, Provost, PNCA. "We feel confident that he will bring diversity, richness and depth of experience not only to our MFA students, but to Portland's art community on the whole. Because the relationship between mentors and students is the backbone of the MFA in Visual Studies, finding the best match for the Chair position is particularly critical as this program continues to grow."
Currently a Brooklyn-based artist, curator, writer, and educator, the core of Kemp's professional career lies with his 10-year post as Associate Visual Arts Curator at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. At Yerba Buena, he curated solo exhibitions for prominent artists including Laylah Ali, Ellen Gallagher and Fred Wilson, as well as the renowned Bay Area Now series. He has also served as a board member for Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, Calif.; and Assistant Director at Omi International Arts Center, Omi, New York. Kemp is also deeply connected to the national contemporary art community. Having built strong relationships with both emerging and well-known writers, curators, filmmakers, designers, historians, theorists and scientists across the country, he has collaborated closely with such creative thinkers as John Baldessari, David Hammons and Kenji Yanobe.
In addition to his curatorial and administrative experience, Kemp is an established artist with an MFA from Stanford University. His mixed-media works have been shown internationally and have been reviewed by the New York Times, Art in America, ARTweek and the San Francisco Chronicle. His work is housed in the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.
Kemp has recent ties to the Portland art community through projects with Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and an exhibition at the gallery Fourteen30 Contemporary. He has spoken as part of Portland State University's Art and Social Practice MFA lecture series and has worked directly with students of PNCA's MFA in Visual Studies program, under former program Chair MK Guth.
An engaged educator, Kemp has been a teacher and mentor to graduates at such schools as California College of the Arts, San Francisco; School of the Visual Arts, New York; and Stanford University, among others. "I view my activities as an educator as a productive way to participate in community building," he said. "I bring to teaching not just theory, but also practical knowledge of the inner-workings of the art world and an understanding of how work is produced by artists and brought to the public by museums and galleries. I look forward to providing my students with the tools required to navigate an ever-changing now."
Described by Kemp as "open to curricular innovation and creative risk-taking," the MFA in Visual Studies is a 60-credit, two-year program. Currently, there are 16 second-year MFA candidates and 15 first-year candidates for Fall 2009. Kemp will join the PNCA faculty full-time July 1.
This highly selective program encourages students to make art in the present tense, responding to the art world's constant evolution with rigorous creative and critical investigation. Under his leadership, Kemp envisions increased experimentation and opportunity for advanced BFA students to interact with MFA students, and plans to bring a wide variety of artists and arts professionals to the College to engage and collaborate with the students. "I am excited by Portland's vibrancy, accessibility and passionate support of the arts," said Kemp. "I look forward to further connecting my students and this city with other national and international communities."
Welcome to Portland Arnold!