For over a decade Isolde has worked internationally as a curator, writer, and a creative/cultural consultant, collaborating with noted contemporary artists, art institutions, companies, and individuals. Her diverse experience highlights her ability to integrate and customize a global aesthetic into multiple platforms – both live and virtual – including art, design, architecture, technology, scholarship, fashion, publishing, public and private real estate as well as philanthropy.
Currently, Isolde is the Executive Director of Arts, Culture & Community at Westfield World Trade Center and oversees cultural events, artist projects, a partnership with the New Museum, as well as public school programming, all integrated with the latest technology. Isolde also serves as Assistant Professor of Critical Studies in Tisch’s Department of Photography, Imaging and Emerging Media at New York University as well as Curator-at-Large at the Tang Museum, and continues to work on a range of cultural projects that bridge both the public and private sectors.
Throughout her career, Isolde has collaborated with noted contemporary artists including Ellen Gallagher, Leonardo Drew, Richard Mosse, Fred Wilson, and Bharti Kher, to name a few. She has written extensively on contemporary art and culture, including several exhibition catalog essays, journal articles as well as artist monographs. She has developed contemporary art and culture programs and platforms for a broad range of organizations including Richard Meier Architects | SDS Procida, Versace, Moet Hennessy USA, Wilfredo Rosado, Gucci, New York magazine, the Prospect New Orleans biennial as well as the Armory Show/VOLTA NY, CIRCA, Puerto Rico, and ARCO Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, Spain, among others.
Previously, Isolde has worked for the Guggenheim Museum, the Bronx Museum of Art, and as Chief Curator for the SCAD Museum of Art. In December of 2016, she was named to the Board of Trustees of the New Museum. She is deeply committed to the promotion of arts education, global women’s issues, and criminal justice reform. In October of 2015, Isolde was invited as a guest to the White House on the occasion of President Obama’s declaration of National Juvenile Justice month. Isolde holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and lives with her family in New York City.
Hey Isolde can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am a child of immigrants who are very fortunate to have grown up with parents who encouraged a global point of view and the idea that we as people should move forward as a collective not as singular individuals. They taught me to be who I am and to allow and respect others to do the same.
Our household was deeply political and very much engaged in the world around us. I feel this is probably why I am drawn to art and artists – artists are our eyes and ears in the world and art has the universal power to move people and make people think and feel.
I am a former classically trained dancer and this path, (with all of its trials and tribulations and joy) instilled discipline, focus, and probably a bit too much self-critique, but I carry all of this with me today as I move through my professional realms.
Currently, I am a professor of critical studies at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and I also oversee the arts and cultural programming at the Oculus at the World Trade Center and serve as curator at large at the Tang Museum at Skidmore. My many hats keep things interesting.
Lastly and most importantly, I am a mother and partner to two of the most amazing beings in my world. We live in the world of Brooklyn.
What is one quote that you live by?
“Wherever you go, there you are”. I always try to live by this concept. It is important for me to remain in the present, wherever I am and whatever I am doing. There is importance and urgency in the ‘now.’ It’s important to show up and be right there.
Could you give your 5 pointers on growing your career and how to grow in life?
1.Live your truth. Be who you are and listen to and respect how you are wired.
2.Be sure to smell the roses. Take this time. As women, we often move from one thing to the other – and often because we have to since so many of us carry heavy loads. But it is important to stop and at least try to smell the roses.
3.Celebrate other women’s successes. Celebrate all of our successes. We must support one another and view other women as assets and collaborators (not as threats).
4.Mentor a young woman even if it means having a simple cup of coffee to offer an ear, guidance or advice.
5.And pick an issue, any issue. Commit to making it a “non-issue” – I am very committed to prison reform. There are masses of black and brown and young people with great potential sitting behind bars because they made, like so many of us, a dumb mistake – a non-violent offense. They can do great things for our world, if we re-think what it means to “punish” people and if we hold true to the idea that people deserve a second chance.
Image by Mangue Banzima