Adam Szymczyk Named 2011 Recipient of the
Menil Director Josef Helfenstein has announced the 2011 recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement: Adam Szymczyk, director and chief curator of Kunsthalle Basel. Established in 2001 in honor of Menil Founding Director Walter Hopps (1932-2005), the award recognizes curators in early to mid-career who have made significant contributions to the field of contemporary art. The Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement carries a stipend of 15,000 USD.
A distinguished panel of three arts professionals made the selection: Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London; Donna De Salvo, chief curator, the Whitney Museum of American Art and former senior curator at Tate Modern, London; and Hamza Walker, director of education and associate curator for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (and the 2005 recipient of the Hopps Award). "In his dedication to the untested," said the panelists in a joint statement, "Adam Szymczyk has provided a critical framework for a generation of artists and curators."
Born in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland, in 1970, Szymczyk studied art history at the University of Warsaw. In 1997 he was among the co-founders of Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw, established with the aim of supporting artists and promoting contemporary art in Poland through exhibitions and publications. He continued working as curator and writer in Warsaw until 2003, when he assumed his current posts at Kunsthalle Basel, where he has organized numerous exhibitions, including Rosalind Nashashibi: Over In (2004); Artur Zmijewski (2005); Nairy Baghramian: Es ist ausser Haus (2006); Micol Assaël: Chizhevsky Lessons (2007); Alexandra Bachzetsis: Show (2008); Danh Vo: Where the Lions Are (2009) and Moyra Davey: Speaker Receiver (2010). In 2008 he co-curated with Elena Filipovic the 5th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art under the title When Things Cast No Shadow. In addition to authoring exhibition catalogues, Szymczyk has also contributed to such publications as Parkett, Frieze, Flash Art, Fluid, Kunstbulletin, and Spike.
"To receive the Hopps Award is an honor," said Szymczyk. "The award is named after a curator who was an inspired, forward-looking and unconventionally thinking individual. The joy of receiving it must be shared with my friends, artists, and professional colleagues whom I was lucky to meet on my way."
Said Josef Helfenstein of the 2011 recipient of the Hopps Award: "It is a pleasure and a privilege to recognize Adam Szymczyk's work in this way. Like the award's namesake, Adam is a great innovator. His intelligence, curiosity, and engagement with artists honors Walter's memory and furthers the importance of this award for excellence in the curatorial field."
Adam Szymczyk will deliver a public lecture at the Menil on May 17, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.