Organizers of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) announced today that Yesomi Umolu will serve as artistic director of the exposition’s 2019 edition. Umolu, who is the current exhibitions curator at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, has a background in architectural design and curatorial studies; her recent exhibitions, such as The Land Grant: Forest Law at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, have explored the politics of the built environment. She is also part of the curatorial advisory board for the United States Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale.
This is the first time that the Biennial will be directed by just one individual. Its highly successful inaugural edition in 2015, themed “The State of the Art of Architecture,” was led by Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda and former Storefront for Art and Architecture director Joseph Grima; Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee were the art directors of the 2017 iteration, which fell under the theme “Make New History.”
According to organizers, Umolu’s vision for the 2019 edition will explore emerging practices that are developing new approaches to architecture, urbanism, and shifting spatial conditions at local, regional, and international levels. A team of curators who she assembles will be announced in the spring.
“The Biennial is a complex and multifaceted platform for exploring both the history and present-day challenges in the field, and we eagerly await the outcomes of Umolu’s curatorial inquiry and exploration,” said Johnston and Lee in a statement.
“Yesomi is a visionary curator with strong roots in Chicago, and she will work tirelessly to cultivate an incredible cultural, educational, and economic event for the city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a statement.
The 2019 Biennial will be open to the public and on view from September 19, 2019 through January 5, 2020.