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Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit Names Larry Ossei-Mensah Senior Curator

The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit announced today that Larry Ossei-Mensah will join the institution as its new Susanne Feld Hilberry senior curator. The independent curator, cultural critic, and cofounder of ARTNOIR—a global collective of arts professionals who, according to Ossei-Mensah, “want to utilize the power of art to be an agent for social and personal change”—will take up the post on September 1.

Over the course of his career, Ossei-Mensah has curated numerous exhibitions, including “Crossing the Line” (2013), a show featuring women artists at the now-defunct gallery Mixed Greens in New York; “No Such Place: Contemporary African Artists in America” (2015) at Nahem Gallery in New York; “Race and Revolution: Still Separate—Still Unequal” (2017) at Smack Mellon gallery in New York; and more recently, a solo presentation of Allison Janae Hamilton’s work titled “Pitch,” which is currently on view at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams.

“Larry Ossei-Mensah is a rising star, whose recent work at MASS MoCA demonstrates a brilliant and complex approach to contemporary art and public programming,” said executive director Elysia Borowy-Reeder. “As we expand our commitment to larger exhibitions and innovative programming, Larry brings a unique expertise in this area and his keen eye for curating with culturally inclusive nuance will further strengthen our program.”

Ossei-Mensah is also part of an ongoing collaboration with Elizabeth Dee Gallery. For the initiative, dubbed Selections, Ossei-Mensah helps choose works by emerging artists from Harlem, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx to highlight in a series of exhibitions. Earlier this year, the curator received a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for an exhibition he is cocurating with Dexter Wimberly, “Coffee, Rhum, Sugar, Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox,” which will open at the Museum of the African Diaspora in 2019.

In addition to his curatorial projects, Ossei-Mensah contributes to various publications, including Neue Journal, Uptown, and Whitewall magazine, and serves as a mentor for the New Museum’s cultural incubator program, NEW INC. Commenting on his new role, Ossei-Mensah said, “After a decade of working independently as an advocate for artists, across the spectrum, the senior curator role at MOCAD is a natural progression for me as I enter the next chapter of my career.” He added, “I’m looking forward to collaborating with my colleagues at MOCAD to cultivate projects and experiences that not only amplify the magic of Detroit, but also serve as a bridge between the city and the world.”