The Whitney Announces Two Curatorial Promotions

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • May 20, 2021

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Whitney assistant curators (l.) Marcela Guerrero (Credit: Photo by Javier Romero) and Rujeko Hockley have been promoted to newly endowed positions.

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that assistant curators Marcela Guerrero and Rujeko Hockley have been promoted to newly endowed positions. Guerrero has been appointed the Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator and Rujeko Hockley will assume the role of Arnhold Associate Curator, both effective July 1.

“Since joining the Whitney in 2017, both Marcela and Ru have continued to distinguish themselves as leaders in the field, particularly through their passionate and scholarly advocacy on behalf of living artists,” said Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Chief Curator. “Marcela has entirely reshaped the Whitney’s engagement with Latinx art and artists, in both our program and collection, while Ru has curated some of our most groundbreaking and memorable recent exhibitions. The Whitney is proud to continue our support of their curatorial visions and the artists they champion in these distinguished new positions.”

Rothkopf continued, “We’re also immensely grateful to two of our newest Trustees Paul Arnhold and Jennifer Rubio for their generous support of the Whitney’s staff and their belief in the next generation of the Museum’s curatorial talent. It’s an honor to have their names associated with these positions, and we’re especially thrilled that Marcela and Ru will inaugurate them.”

“I am humbled and honored to receive this promotion,” said Guerrero. “With this new title, I feel empowered to continue working hard to bring awareness of Latinx art nationally and globally. It's also not lost on me that this promotion wouldn't be possible had it not been for the trailblazing work of women on whose shoulders I stand. Likewise, I am proud to carry the name of Jennifer Rubio in my title, a woman of color changing the face of philanthropy.”

Hockley said, “I am thrilled to continue the work I have been doing throughout my career and at the Whitney since my arrival here. None of it is possible without the investment and encouragement of the institution and our trustees, and so I am especially grateful for this recognition and support. I look forward to continued collaboration with artists, audiences, and my colleagues and am immensely proud of all we have created together thus far.

The Whitney also announced that Rubio and her husband, Stewart Butterfield, have endowed the new position of Rubio Butterfield Family Fellow. This fellowship in the Whitney’s Curatorial Department will support promising curators and art historians at a pivotal early moment in their careers.

Marcela Guerrero came to the Whitney from the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles where she worked as a Curatorial Fellow from 2014 to 2017. At the Hammer, she was involved in the much-lauded exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960–1985, organized as part of the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, and guest-curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill and Andrea Giunta. Prior to joining the Hammer, she worked in the Latin American and Latino art department at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she served as Research Coordinator for the International Center for the Arts of the Americas. In her current role as assistant curator at the Whitney, Guerrero has organized important exhibitions and worked to foreground the contributions of Latinx artists in the U.S. and increase the presence of their works in the Whitney’s collection. She was part of the curatorial team that organized Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945. She also curated the exhibition Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay: Indigenous Space, Modern Architecture, a show featuring the work of seven emerging Latinx artists. Guerrero is co-chair of the Whitney’s Emerging Artist Working Group and is currently organizing Martine Gutierrez, a public art installation that will be displayed on the facade of 95 Horatio Street. She has been instrumental in the Whitney’s recent Spanish language initiatives both digitally and on-site. Guerrero’s writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues and in art journals such as, ArtNexus, Caribbean Intransit: The Arts Journal, Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, and Diálogo. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Guerrero holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Rujeko Hockley was previously assistant curator of contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she co-curated Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond (2014) and was involved in exhibitions highlighting the permanent collection as well as artists LaToya Ruby Frazier, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, and others. She was the co-curator of We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 (2017), which originated at the Brooklyn Museum and traveled to three additional U.S. venues in 2017–18. Since joining the Whitney four years ago, Hockley has worked on a range of exhibitions, including Julie Mehretu, the artist’s acclaimed mid-career survey currently on view at the Museum. She also co-curated the 2019 Whitney Biennial with Jane Panetta, director of the Whitney’s collection; and Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined (2017) with Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant. In 2017, she was also part of the team that organized An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017. Hockley is currently co-organizing the Whitney’s presentation of Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied with Seeing with Jane Panetta. Her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogues and in publications such as Aperture, BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, and New York Magazine. She has given numerous lectures and served on many juries, including, most recently, Duke University’s Franklin Humanities Institute Social Practice Lab, the Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship, and the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Hockley serves on the board of Art Matters, as well as the advisory board of Recess. She holds a BA in art history from Columbia University and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California San Diego.

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