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Gregg Bordowitz. Photo: Justin Bettman.
Gregg Bordowitz. Photo: Justin Bettman.

Gregg Bordowitz to Lead Whitney’s Independent Study Program

New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art has announced artist, writer, activist, and educator Gregg Bordowitz as the new director of its renowned Independent Study Program (ISP), effective February 1. Bordowitz, a 1985–86 alumnus of the program and a visiting faculty member there for many years, succeeds founding ISP director Ron Clark, who is retiring after more than five decades in the role. Prior to accepting his post at the Whitney, Bordowitz, a longtime contributor to Artforum, taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He arrived there as a professor twenty-five years ago before rising to chair the department of film, video, and animation and then, in 2013, to founding director of the school’s low-residency master of fine arts program.

“It is so important to have an artist lead the ISP, which has long focused its program on next-generation creators,” said Whitney director Adam D. Weinberg in a statement. “Gregg is an ideal successor to help launch the ISP into an exciting new chapter given his deep knowledge of critical theory, art history and curatorial work. Moreover, he has an established history with the program, as both a participant and educator.”

A New York native, Bordowitz emerged in the 1980s as the founder of the video/film collectives Testing the Limits and Diva TV. During this time, embraced a creative practice that centered and responded to the AIDS crisis. As a member of the seminal activist organization ACT UP, he organized and documented protests, and advocated for health education and harm reduction aimed at ending the pandemic. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney, as well as at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Artists Space, the Museum of Modern Art, and the New Museum, all in New York: and Tate Modern, London, among other institutions. He was recently the subject of the traveling retrospective “Gregg Bordowitz: I Wanna Be Well,” organized by the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, and spanning thirty years.

“My participation in the ISP, as a participant and then faculty for over 30 years, shapes my ongoing education as an artist and a teacher. Study is a way of life,” Bordowitz said in a statement. “Teaching is the art of learning. The teacher teaches learning, as learning teaches the students; as learning teaches the teacher to teach. This is an ongoing process of continually renewing amazement.”

The ISP since 1968 has nurtured the careers of artists, curators, art historians, and critics. In addition to Bordowitz, alumni of the program include artists Jennifer Allora, Tony Cokes, Danielle Dean, Mark Dion, Andrea Fraser, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Renée Green, Jenny Holzer, Emily Jacir, Glenn Ligon, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Julian Schnabel; critics and art historians Huey Copeland, Miwon Kwon, Pamela M. Lee, and Roberta Smith; and curators Carlos Basualdo, Naomi Beckwith, and Sheena Wagstaff.