Miwon Kwon Joins the MKFA Board

Los Angeles, CA. (September 21, 2020) — The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts announced today the appointment of art historian Miwon Kwon to its Board of Directors. She joins other members Stephanie Barron, Catherine Opie, Claire Peeps, Ed Rada, Gary Simmons, and Joan Weinstein.

“We are thrilled to welcome Miwon to the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts," says Stephanie Barron, Interim Board Chair. “We find ourselves in a time of so much uncertainty and instability in the art community and in the world at large—when flexibility and ingenuity are more crucial than ever. Miwon’s expansive knowledge of contemporary art, architecture, public art, and urban studies will be invaluable to the Foundation as it responds to the unprecedented challenges of our time.”

Kwon is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles. Trained in architecture, she holds a M.A. in photography, and has extensive curatorial experience from her tenure at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the early 1990s. She received her Ph.D. in architectural history and theory from Princeton University in 1998, and that same year joined the faculty at UCLA to teach contemporary art history. She is the author of One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity, as well as lengthy essays on the work of many contemporary artists, including Michael Asher, Cai Guo-Qiang, Jimmie Durham, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Barbara Kruger, Ana Mendieta, Josiah McElheny, Richard Serra, Do Ho Suh, and Shirley Tse, among others. She co-organized a major historical exhibition in 2012 titled Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 with Philipp Kaiser, which was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and traveled to Haus der Kunst in Münich, Germany, that same year. The catalogue for the exhibition was awarded the 2013 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for the most distinguished museum catalogue in the history of art by the College Art Association. Additionally, she was a founding co-editor and publisher of Documents, a journal of art, culture, and criticism, and serves on the advisory board of October magazine.

“I am honored to join the board of the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, and to help pursue its mission of preserving Mike Kelley’s legacy in part by supporting artists in the creation of challenging and innovative work,” says Kwon. “As we see resources for the arts shrink, there is greater urgency for the encouragement of artists, and I look forward to advocating for them through the Foundation.”

Founded in 2007 by artist Mike Kelley, the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts advances the artist’s spirit of critical thinking, risk taking, and provocation in the arts. Led by Executive Director Mary Clare Stevens, the Foundation seeks to further his philanthropic work through grants, such as the Artist Projects Grants, to arts organizations and artists for innovative projects that reflect his multifaceted artistic practice. Launched in 2015, the Artist Project Grants support the creation of vital and often difficult-to-produce work. Since the program’s inception almost six years ago, the Foundation has funded 45 projects, and in the face of the pandemic, has worked with each organization and artist to help navigate the use of awarded funds during the 2020 grant cycle. Additionally, the Foundation contributed to Artist Relief, a fund formed to provide immediate relief for artists affected by COVID-19, stimulate artist wellness support systems, and learn about artists’ needs for future resource and advocacy development.

“Miwon is a respected figure in the contemporary art world, and beyond. Her insight as an educator, historian, and curator will be integral to the Foundation’s mission to encourage scholarship, share educational resources, and support artists during a time when we need to hear their voices,” explains Stevens. “We are delighted to have her join us at this critical juncture.”