Q & A with Denise Ryner, Andrea B. Laporte Curator

We’re excited to welcome our newest staff member, Denise Ryner! We asked Denise to tell us about an exhibition or work of art that inspired her to be a curator, her experience working in the Vancouver and Berlin art communities and what she’s looking forward to in Philadelphia’s art scene and beyond. 

Q: What are some things you loved about working in the Vancouver and Berlin art community and what are you looking forward to about Philadelphia’s art scene?

Photo by Marcus Maddox
A: Vancouver and Berlin seem like the extreme ends of a scale. In Berlin, the community is always in flux with artists, theorists and curators from pretty much every global region passing through, or arriving and quickly establishing new art spaces, collectives or satellite projects that correspond with Rome, Colombo, Jakarta, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, New York, anywhere. This of course made for a very stimulating working environment where, with little effort and no travel, I learned a variety of conditions and ideas around the presence of community and the presentation of artwork.

Berlin is also an amazing place to make connections between the canonized artwork in the European historic museums, the antiquities taken from around the world (which in many cases requires redress) and up-to-the-minute contemporary artwork in the local art schools, galleries, artist studios and residencies. Located within this was Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), where this international character was reflected in our artistic teams, interns and audiences providing a lot of different perspectives and experiences that could inform the development of each event or project.

Learning to work in Vancouver meant working within a space that was defined by networked, but long-standing communities that engaged a different speed in terms of taking in new, or other perspectives. It’s a community where working in the artworld means paying attention to local legacies and frequently engaging temperature-checks with audiences and colleagues. Vancouver has purposefully defined its voice as an art center in the Pacific Northwest, which made focusing on a curatorial vision in correspondence with local histories and well-defined art communities an easy task.

To read the full Q&A click here.