March 19, 2013

Anthony Elms “Moments to remember are just like other moments”

Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen's University
White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart, 2013. Exhibition view: The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, 2013. Curated by Anthony Elms. Photo: Aaron Igler.

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is pleased to welcome Anthony Elms as the 2013 Rita Friendly Kaufman Lecturer. Elms, an Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, was recently selected as one of the 2014 Whitney Biennial curators. In his lecture “Moments to remember are just like other moments,” Elms will discuss his approach to curating. Founded on a love of conversation and a close engagement with artists, his exhibitions often stage artists who make critical use of ephemera.

Elms remarks “First and foremost, I attend to artists. From studio to studio, from exhibition to exhibition, I always try to understand what shapes their work. I also stay attentive to the artists who hide in plain sight. I initially trained as a visual artist. This is the point of view form which I curate.”

Speaking about his curatorial approach to the 2014 Whitney, he notes “There were no artists on my proposal because I wouldn’t want to list any artists until I got into studios and figured out who I need to get more engaged with,” Elms says. “I’ll probably know who I am working with after doing a bunch of studio visits a few months from now. I didn’t propose a show for the biennial, but I did propose a mood.”

Anthony Elms is Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, one of three curators of the 2014 Whitney Biennial and the editor of WhiteWalls, an independent publisher distributed through the University of Chicago Press. He previously worked for Performa 11 in New York and was Assistant Director at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago for five years. His writings have appeared in Afterall, Art Asia Pacific, Art Papers, Artforum, Cakewalk, May Revue, Modern Painters, New Art Examiner and Time Out Chicago. He has also written essays for numerous catalogues and collections. His independent curatorial projects include the exhibitions Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago’s Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954–68 (with John Corbett and Terri Kapsalis); Interstellar Low Ways (with Huey Copeland); Can Bigfoot Get You a Beer? and A Unicorn Basking in the Light of Three Glowing Suns (both with Philip von Zweck). Elms received a BFA in painting from Michigan State University and an MFA from the University of Chicago, and he continues to exhibit as an artist. His group exhibition White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart is currently on view at the ICA Philadelphia.

The annual Rita Friendly Kaufman Lecture is made possible through an endowment from the Kaufman family.

This event is free and open to the public.

About the Agnes Etherington Art Centre
The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a dynamic, interdisciplinary platform for teaching and learning at Queen’s University. The Art Centre also serves as Southeastern Ontario’s public art museum, actively engaging citizens of the City of Kingston and visitors to the region, in the belief that contact with original works of art contributes to understanding our world, ourselves and others.

For further information, please contact Kate Yüksel at 613 533 2190, or go to

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