An Interview with Curator Kelsay Meyers
by: Melanie Rose
Melanie Rose: How did you get into curatorial work? And in your opinion, what is the main role of the curator?
Kelsay Meyers: I first became interested in curatorial work by watching my arts mentor, Cynthia Tom, curate an arts & healing exhibition called, A PLACE OF HER OWN. Seeing how she is able to bring all kinds of talented women artists together as a community and celebrate their creativity inspired me to do something similar. I also admire her ability to bring her visions into reality–something I’m hoping to be able to do myself.
MR: If you could describe your curatorial style in three words, what would they be?
KM: I would say my curatorial style is similar to my teaching style: very ad hoc, trial & error and hands-on. I like to learn as I go, and I’m still very much in the learning stages of many things in my life, but I think my determination, adaptability and passion for the arts is what carries me through the chaos.
MR: What is the title of your exhibition? Tell us a little bit about the theme and how you developed your concept.
KM: My exhibition is called AESTHETIC BLITZ. The title came to me when I was 19 years old and on a college trip to the Osaka-Kansai region of Japan. I saw a painting in an art museum there and bought a postcard where I scribbled the words: aesthetic blitz on the back. Something about the images made those words come to me, and over the years, I couldn’t get them out of my head. They became the title of my first essay collection, as well. I see identity as an aesthetic blitzkrieg–a bombardment of cultural and artistic words and images that amount to who we are. That’s the approach I used to construct my own identity without knowing anything solid about my origins as a Korean adoptee, and I thought others might be able to relate, so I asked several, largely Asian American, women artists and writers that I knew to share some of their work that represents their own idea of female identity in our society.
MR: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned so far while producing this exhibition exhibition?
KM: How to let go of your grand, original concepts and work with what you actually have!
MR: Do you have any advice for other emerging curators of color?
KM: I would urge anyone who has a vision or a concept that they’d like to bring into the world, to go do it because it’s rewarding and freeing in itself.
Kelsay is a fellow of Asian American Women Artists Association’s Emerging Curators Program. AESTHETIC BLITZ opens May 4 at the Sequoias Rotunda Gallery. Visit the AESTHETIC BLITZ page for more info about the exhibition.