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ICA Los Angeles Appoints Jamillah James as Curator

After announcing its move downtown and name change to ICA LA, the former Santa Monica Museum of Art has appointed Hammer Museum assistant curator Jamillah James as its new head curator. In her role at the Hammer, James organized exhibitions and programs at the Leimert Park–based space, Art + Practice, including the current Critic’s Pick Alex Da Corte solo show. James’s appointment is the first hire for LA’s only noncollecting museum, and she began her new position yesterday.

Elsa Longhauser, the ICA LA executive director, said of James: “She champions the values that ICA LA holds in highest regard—critique of the familiar and empathy with the different.” While with the Hammer, James organized the Los Angeles solo institutional debuts of Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Alex Da Corte, and Simone Leigh, with the latter via a forthcoming exhibition opening this September. At Art + Practice, she organized “A Shape That Stands Up,” a group show that featured work by Kevin Beasley, Robert Colescott, Carroll Dunham, Jamian Juliano-Villani, and Amy Sillman, as well as “Selections from the Brockman Gallery Archives,” an exhibition exploring Leimert Park’s legendary Brockman Gallery and its work with seminal artists such as David Hammons, Senga Nengudi, and Noah Purifoy. James also co-organized the Hammer’s recent Charles Gaines exhibition and assisted curating shows of John Outterbridge’s and Mark Bradford’s work.

Before her tenure at the Hammer, James was a curatorial fellow at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, where she organized “Brothers and Sisters,” a survey show pairing pieces from the permanent collection with paintings by Beauford Delaney. Prior to that, she held a curatorial fellowship at the Queens Museum in New York where she co-organized the 2010 Queens International biennial. James is a visiting lecturer and critic at numerous art schools and institutions throughout the country, including Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and the Rhode Island School of Design.