Hirshhorn Appoints Mark Beasley as First-Ever Curator of Media and Performance Art

A step forward in an initiative to expand its digital collections, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC has announced the appointment of its first-ever Curator of Media and Performance Art, Dr. Mark Beasley.

Beasley comes to the Hirshhorn after holding a curatorial post at Performa, where he worked with artists like Mark Leckey, Frances Stark, and Mike Kelley, and founded the organization’s Malcolm McLaren Award for risk-taking and irreverent artists. He previously worked as a curator and producer with the public arts organization Creative Time, and as curator for the British Council in London.

At the Hirshhorn, Beasley will report to Director Melissa Chiu and Chief Curator Stéphane Aquin. His responsibilities will include organizing exhibitions of new media art, and enhancing the institution’s collection of film, video, and performance works.

“Mark Beasley is one of the few experts of his kind, and as one of the leading curators of our time, his work has helped to shape this field over the past fifteen years,” said Chiu in a statement.

The post is made possible by DC philanthropists and collectors Robert and Arlene Kogod, influential donors to the Washington art scene, most known for the Robert and Arlene Kogod courtyard that connects the American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, designed by Foster + Partners.

Beasley’s appointment represents a strengthened dedication to exhibiting new media art at the Hirshhorn. It follows a number of exhibitions and initiatives in the field, including the 11-year-old Black Box series for works of moving image. In February, the museum opened “Suspended Animation,” a show featuring the artists Ed Atkins, Antoine Catala, Ian Cheng, Josh Kline, Helen Marten, and Agnieszka Polska, some of the most relevant names in experimental new media art.

This year, the Hirshhorn has also acquired significant works by, among others, Atkins, Shirin Neshat, and Hito Steyerl.

“As new technologies play an increasingly larger role in our daily lives, they also allow for an unprecedented scope in artistic output,” said Stéphane Aquin. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside Mark Beasley to strengthen the Hirshhorn’s exploration of today’s new art forms and its expanding impact on 21st-century culture.”

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