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Announcing Two New ViVA Educators

We are very pleased to announce the addition of two new ViVA Educators. Dr. Ksenya Gurshtein and Laurel Brown bring a range of diverse experiences and expertise to their collaborative work with our ViVA Artists and Collectives, and our client-partners.

Dr. Ksenya Gurshtein

Ksenya Gurshtein is a curator, art historian, writer, and translator who lives in Wichita, KS. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan. Her curatorial work has taken place at a range of different institutions: The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles; and the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University, where she is currently the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. She has also taught art history at the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia.

Her curatorial work is broadly aimed at foregrounding a range of contemporary social justice issues and uplifting historically underrepresented voices. Recent curatorial projects have included Zoe Beloff: Emotions Go to Work, an installation that considered how technology shapes our emotional lives and commodifies our desires; 10 x 10 Ten Women / Ten Prints, an online exhibition of a print portfolio by ten Bay Area artists created to commemorate the passage of the 19th amendment; Alice Aycock in the Studio, a project that shed light on the working process of a pioneering contemporary sculptor; Gordon Parks: I, too, am America, an exhibition that examined Gordon Parks’ deeply empathetic images of children whose lives are affected by racism and poverty; Renée Stout: Ghosts, a project that paired Renée Stout’s research into African diasporic images and practices with Yoruba objects; and Love in the Time of the Anthropocene, a show of works by photographers Terry Evans and Philip Heying and painter A. Mary Kay that highlighted the artists’ examination of the complex interconnectedness of lifeforms on the Kansas prairie.

Ksenya’s areas of deepest academic expertise are the histories of global conceptual art and unofficial art in state socialist Eastern Europe. With Sonja Simonyi, she is the co-editor of the forthcoming essay collection Experimental Cinemas in State Socialist Eastern Europe (Amsterdam University Press, 2021). She has also written and published as a critic on a broad array of topics, with her most recent publications appearing on the website Hyperallergic. A repository of her writing can be found here. In addition to her work, her biggest passions are her family, travel, and local politics.

Laurel Brown

Laurel Brown recently earned her MA in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in relationships between technology, media, race, and gender, and has written most recently on artist Sondra Perry’s works exploring avatars and digital modeling.

She is also the Research and Digital Curatorial Assistant at the Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought in New Orleans where she has contributed to a range of projects including Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch, for which a special collaboration with the California African American Museum in Los Angeles was formed to explore the histories of Black abstraction.

Prior to her graduate studies, she had the opportunity to work with a wide range of arts organizations in the Washington, DC area, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and both non-profit and commercial galleries. She was the recent Art Editor for the literary journal Bat City Review at UT Austin. Laurel received her BA in Art History from Barnard College.

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