Ruth Noack, former curator of documenta 12, has been appointed Executive Director and Curator of The Corner at Whitman-Walker
, a new cultural center in Washington, D.C. Noack is charged to build an institution at the nexus between art, health and education, drawing on intersectional LGBTQ perspectives and the healthcare expertise of Whitman-Walker.
Amongst Noack's seminal shows count the co-curated Things We Dont Understand (2000), The Government (2000-2005) and documenta 12 (2007); recent exhibitions include Notes on Crisis, Currency and Consumption (2015) and Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life, a series of exhibitions last shown at Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, 2019-20. Teaching internationally for two decades, she headed the Curating Contemporary Art Program at the RCA/London and lead a Roaming Academy class at the Dutch Art Institute.
"We are thrilled to have Ruth join us," Don Blanchon, CEO of Whitman-Walker Health System, said in a statement. "She comes with an outstanding track record, uniting 25 years of innovative and bold curating of contemporary art, a vast experience in education and a prolific practice author and lecturer. Ruth is simply the right fit for a cultural center that is embedded in a health care institution specializing in LGBTQ and HIV care and promoting equal opportunity to health and wellbeing of all persons through care, advocacy, research and education".
A feminist, Noack has written widely on artists of all genders, published the monograph Sanja Iveković: Triangle with Afterall Books and edited Agency, Ambivalence, Analysis. Approaching the Museum with Migration in Mind (2013). Research topics include Ghosting the Nation and A Museum in a School.
Commenting on her new position, Noack states: "It is a deep honor and privilege to be called upon to create a new cultural institution that will generate content around health and social justice concerns, connecting cultures and communities through programming of exhibitions, events, educational initiatives and research. There is so much to be learned from linking aesthetic and empirical ways of approaching real-life problems."
A month after onboarding, Noack had already curated When We First Arrived..., which showcased 123 works of art by leading visual artists responding to testimonies from amongst the 7,000 children detained by the U.S. federal government after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Then COVID-19 hit. Acutely aware of ever diminishing spaces for community in DC, The Corner at Whitman-Walker made an effort to re-open in Summer 2020 and is now showing See You There: Making History at Whitman-Walker (until March 28, 2021). Stay Alive to Life!, on coping in times of COVID-19, an exhibition and program of events organized in cooperation with Kadist and The Museum of Dreams, will open April 30, 2021.