For this month’s theme of Creative Women, we feature the three curators of the inaugural UNDERLINE show which launches this September. Natasha Becker, Londi Modiko and Lara Koseff are all three successful, independent curators. Together, they have a combined local and international experience of more than 20 years in the contemporary art world.
The UNDERLINE show is a new annual exhibition and curatorial platform dedicated to supporting independent voices in contemporary art. Founded by curators, through a combination of private and public partnerships, the exhibition offers curators as well as artists an opportunity to present and exhibit within a larger curated show. The inaugural edition opens to the public from 12-15 September 2019 at the Museum of African Design (MOAD) in Maboneng, with the space being generously provided by the GSA (Graduate School of Architecture) at the University of Johannesburg.
The trio behind this project, Becker, Modiko and Koseff, have curated the 2019 edition as homage to the spirit of spaces, projects, platforms, and patrons that play a vital role in supporting artists and curators who would otherwise have no access to the art world. Similarly, the 2019 UNDERLINE show seeks to highlight new artistic and curatorial practices, and discourses. The show comprises of twelve curated exhibitions (listed below) that examine issues of uncertainty during social and political crises, power and access in cities, public interactions with archives, visual art and language; upend traditional male-dominated practices; they question conservative sexual politics and mythologies, and reimagine potential futures.
Natasha Becker is an independent researcher, writer, and curator of contemporary African and African American art. She is the co-founder of Assembly Room, a platform for independent women curators in New York City. She was Senior Curator at the Goodman Gallery (South Africa) and prior to that, she was the Assistant Director in the Research and Academic Program at the Clark Art Institute (USA). Her curated projects include: Dialogues in Drawing at Jenkins Johnson Gallery (San Francisco, 2017), Multiplicities Vol. 1 Continuous Unknowing at Assembly Room (New York, 2018), Present Passing co-curated with Patrick Flores at the Osage Foundation (Hong Kong, 2019) and Perilous Bodies and Radical Love with artist/curator Jaishri Abachandani at the Ford Foundation Art Gallery (New York, 2019).
Londi Modiko is a curator and art advisor, who holds a Fine Art and business qualification, she also has 11 years of industry experience. Her curatorial and advisory skills were honed at various notable institutions such as the Goodman Gallery Johannesburg, WHATIFTHEWORLD and David Krut, to name a few. While working at these institutions, she worked on numerous significant art projects and international art fairs such as Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland and Miami Beach and Frieze in London and New York. She also runs an art advisory called An Art Agency, a start-up that specialises in contemporary art from Southern Africa. The company offers independent and comprehensive expertise to help connect individuals, private collectors, estates, non-profits, corporates and government to a vast network of skilled artists.
Lara Koseff is a curator and writer based in Johannesburg. She worked at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg from 2010 – 2018, primarily in a curatorial capacity and as a liaison for numerous artists. Here she was involved in the inception of South-South, a curatorial initiative exploring connections within and constructions of the Global South, with a focus on Latin America and Africa in particular. Curated shows include Speaking the Unspeakable by Grada Kilomba at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg (2018); Love is a Difficult Blue by Ghada Amer & Reza Farkhondeh at Goodman Gallery Cape Town (2018); LOST LOVER at Lanchonete<>Lanchonete project space, Rio de Janeiro (2018) and RAMPA, Porto (2019) and I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I know what you mean, a video programme co-curated with Paula Borghi for Goodman Gallery’s South-South project, shown in Cape Town (2018) and at arteBA, Buenos Aires (2019). She is currently the creative director of offsetculture.art, an online platform for printed matter.
This year’s UNDERLINE show also features a SITE section. Artists have been invited to create interventions within MOAD, the locale for this edition. CONVERSATIONS is a space to share practical experiences on the practice of curating. In the FEATURED section a special solo project will also be presented. Full details of these special projects are to be announced in the coming weeks.
The show’s PERFORMANCE programme 2019 is presented in partnership with the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, and UNDERLINE will be hosting all the shortlisted 2019 candidates of their prestigious David Koloane Award.