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Urgency and Relevance: A Curatorial Perspective

This program is a prelude to the ninth edition of Asian Contemporary Art Week in October 2014. The program, co-organized and presented by the Guggenheim Museum and Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), provides an insider’s view of contemporary art through the eyes of international practitioners working at the edge of advocacy and the establishment.

Recorded March 11, 2014 and presented here in two parts:
Part 1: Introductions & Presentations
Part 2: Discussion & Q&A

Each section is about one hour long.

The presentation reveals the diverse practices of distinguished curators within a landscape of new global initiatives from Costa Rica to Australia to to Abu Dhabi to Afghanistan and Pakistan and more. Told through individual stories of discovery and illustrated by specific case studies, the series features a multitude of concepts brought to life by their curatorial practices, including the formation of collections, engagement with living artists, the representation of multiple communities, the economics of cultural capital and the press of civic life.

Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, introduced the program and moderated a group conversation including the participants listed below:

Leeza Ahmady, independent curator and Director of Asian Contemporary Art Week, on “Historical Apertures: Contemporary Art as the Beginning of an ‘Art That Is of the World, for the World.’”

Thomas J. Berghuis, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, reflects “On the Trauma of History.”

Melissa Chiu, Museum Director and Senior Vice President, Global Arts and Cultural Programs, Asia Society, on “Politics and Urgency for Exhibitions of Art from Pakistan.”

Reem Fadda, Associate Curator, Middle Eastern Art, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Project, on contemporary art from the United Arab Emirates.

Pablo León de la Barra, Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, Latin America, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, on Bananas Is My Business.

About Asian Contemporary Art Week

Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) returns to New York in the Fall of 2014 (October 22–31) to highlight stellar artistic voices in Asian art today. Now in its ninth iteration, ACAW is a dynamic platform that brings together leading art institutions, museums, and galleries from New York and Asia in order to present the largest showcase of cutting- edge exhibitions, innovative projects, and provocative dialogues. ACAW 2014 introduces Field Meeting, a first-of-its-kind forum outside of Asia that aims to foster opportunities for artists and regional art professionals to network, share their concepts and expertise, and forge partnerships for future collaborations. ACAW 2014 will also present Keynote Works, a major online exhibition as a centerpiece, adding exciting new dimensions to this vibrant citywide event. For participation information, visit


Dialogues in Asian Contemporary Art


In collaboration with Clocktower Radio (formerly, Leeza Ahmady, independent curator and director of Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW), conducts interviews with artists, curators, critics, and experts working both inside and outside of Asia. The program will include Ahmady's reports from around town and will feature select recordings of conversations, talks, and panel discussions across venues in New York City.

Born in Afghanistan and based in New York, Ahmady is an independent art curator, educator, and noted specialist in art from Central Asia. As the director of Asian Contemporary Art Week (ACAW) at Asia Society, Ahmady brings together leading New York City galleries and museums to participate in special exhibitions, receptions, lectures, and performances citywide.

Asian Contemporary Art Week connects leading New York City galleries and museums in a citywide event comprised of public exhibitions, receptions, lectures and performances. The Week focuses on the broad spectrum of artworks produced by Asian contemporary artists working in their home countries and abroad. Asian Contemporary Art Week is organized by Asian Contemporary Art Consortium. Clocktower Radio is a media sponsor for the events and the recordings collected over the years are available in this section of the archive.

Clocktower Radio was launched by MoMA/PS1 in 2004 as the Web's first art radio station. It has been independent since 2009 and is licensed to host content created under PS1 management. Programs produced prior to 2011 may refer to our earlier URLs and station IDs, including,, and Art International Radio. For the complete history of Clocktower Radio, read our Mission & History section.