Press Release

ICA Miami Marks Major Expansion of Research Department with Its Renaming to Knight Foundation Art + Research Center

Miami, Florida
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Expansion Includes Creation of New Digital Platform, Academic Partnership with University of Miami, Annual Keynote Series, and Addition of New Research and Digital Positions; Gean Moreno Promoted to Director of Knight Foundation Art + Research Center 

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) today announced the expansion of its Art + Research Center, South Florida’s only museum-based research department, and its renaming to the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center (A+RC). The department’s new name commemorates a $2 million grant to ICA Miami from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2018. The grant supports an in-progress five-year strategic plan to expand the A+RC’s scope and establish the future of the department through a range of major initiatives, including the creation of a new digital education platform to encourage exchange and collaboration among scholars, cultural theorists, students, and artists; the launch of a new academic partnership; and the debut of additional public programming. In conjunction with the growth of the department, Curator of Programs Gean Moreno has been promoted to Director of the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center, and the museum has created two new digital and research roles to support its work, overseen by Moreno.

“ICA Miami is committed to championing Miami as a center for excellence in scholarship, and to exploring salient global issues through innovative platforms,” said ICA Miami Artistic Director Alex Gartenfeld. “We are incredibly grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for their support in the expansion of the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center, whose partnership grants ICA Miami the opportunity to extend the ambition and depth of our research and educational initiative.”

“Since its launch in 2016, the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center has continuously generated new research and ideas on the pressing social issues and the conditions from which contemporary art emerges, fostering new scholarship among students, artists, and theorists,” said Director of the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center Gean Moreno. “I look forward to steering the Art + Research Center into its next exciting and ambitious phase and expanding the global reach and impact of the program through digital platforms.”

Initiated in 2016, the A+RC serves as ICA Miami’s research department and educational initiative, overseeing signature education programs, publications, and interdisciplinary research. It includes application-based, graduate-level workshops and public presentations by leading thinkers and theorists in the humanities and social sciences, and is dedicated to promoting advanced arts literacy, fostering a generation of artists and cultural leaders, and exploring pressing cultural, environmental, political, and social issues in relation to contemporary art. As a result of the Knight Foundation grant, ICA Miami has expanded and reshaped the A+RC to support increased online access to its programs and to the contributions of the leading cultural thinkers and artists on topical global issues. The expansion of the departments includes the following initiatives:

New Online Platform for Digital Scholarship and Interactive Learning

Building on its existing program, the A+RC will broaden its impact with a new digital platform, Research.Art. Launching soon, the site will act as an online hub for original and collaborative research-based content generated by ICA Miami and its partners. Designed to extend access to digital scholarship to new audiences, including curators, scholars, students, and the public, and act as an interactive learning tool for students enrolled in the A+RC’s field-advancing curricula, Research.Art will feature audio and video pedagogical materials, as well as a publishing domain. 

Gean Moreno Promoted to Director of the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center; Museum Creates Two New Staff Positions, Assistant Curator of Research and Digital Producer

ICA Miami Curator of Programs Gean Moreno, who has overseen development of the A+RC since its inception in 2016, has been promoted to Director of the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center. In his new role, Moreno leads the A+RC by administering its wide-ranging initiatives, as well as designing and implementing curriculum. Additionally, the museum has created two new staff roles, Assistant Curator of Research and Digital Producer. The Assistant Curator of Research supports the A+RC’s e-publications project, assists in the organization of educational programming, and will manage content on Research.Art, while the Digital Producer will aid in developing and disseminating the research materials and outcomes generated by A+RC into digitally-accessible and dynamic formats.

Expanded Public Programming Inaugurated with Annual Keynote Series

As part of its commitment to leading Miami’s public discourse and advanced education, the A+RC introduces the annual Knight Foundation Keynote Lecture, inviting distinguished voices to discuss relevant and pressing topics in our fast-changing society. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, curator, and New Yorker theater critic Hilton Als kicked off the new annual series with a keynote on “Artistic practices in the current moment” in February 2020. 

New Academic Partnership with the University of Miami’s Africana Studies Program

The A+RC continues its collaboration with academic institutions through a new partnership with the University of Miami’s Africana Studies Program. The A+RC and the University of Miami partner on one semester per year that explores critical positions developed by thinkers of the global African diaspora. The partnership launched with last year’s graduate-level course, “The Black Hemisphere,” which considered self-understandings of Blackness in the Americas, from Canada to the Caribbean to Brazil, and processes of anti-Blackness and cultural marginalization across the hemisphere. Convening prominent scholars from the field of Black Studies, the semester was comprised of four seminars, a symposium, and a public lecture. Following the completion of the semester, the A+RC released its first season of podcasts, consisting of four episodes drawing from research generated during the program and discussing topics that range from Anti-blackness and the Haitian Revolution to Black art-making and the idea of reparations. 

Throughout the year, A+RC independently mounts additional graduate-level semesters and a summer intensive. The Summer Intensive 2020 begins July 27 and is comprised of two virtual courses that will kick-off year-long student research projects focused on mapping the complex relations that characterize Miami and its local ecosystems. The courses are: “What is Your Relationship to Place: Examining Colonial Privilege and Accountability,” which explores ways in which urgent climate issues and human-induced effects apply pressure to contemporary cultural production and most severely impact people of color and low-income individuals; and “Dreams, Visions, and Visitations” which investigates the importance of dreams, the dead, and the spirit world to communities fighting colonial violence across the world and the role they play in their environmental struggles. 


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