‘in-tangible institute’ offers curatorial mentorship, educational programs, strategic advice and industry consultation, towards the nurturing of productive, critical and innovative relationships between curators and their various stakeholders in the arts. We work with artists, collectors, writers, teachers, researchers, business entrepreneurs and more in the interest of building a diverse interdisciplinary ecology for the arts.
‘WHAT WE DO’
‘in-tangible institute’ seeks to nurture curatorial expertise with critical comparative ethos in Southeast Asia, a region whose cultural and artistic experimental landscape is largely serviced by the private sector, with an exciting array of differing organizational model in need of experienced facilitatory skill in the arts. Employing a select rotation of emerging curators from initially Thailand, with future intention to include curators from across Southeast Asia, ‘in-tangible’ seeks to offer this much-needed talent with opportunities to gain experience by realizing programs for varied international platforms, under the lead guidance of Zoe Butt. Via the initiation and delivery of exhibitions, educational programs, publishing of critical texts, commissioning of artistic research, for and in collaboration with an array of differing community globally, in-tangible seeks to foster internationally competent curatorial practice that is crucially locally responsive. In addition to such mentorship, ‘in-tangible’ offers strategic advice and consultation to clients in Southeast Asia seeking to invest in the building of cultural consciousness via their private collections, museum projects or advocacy for the arts, assisting their desire to create organizational structures and communities that are emboldened by local know-how in their international engagements.
‘WHY WE DO’
‘in-tangible institute’ is compelled and inspired by the shared cultural histories and rituals of South East Asia, a region whose contemporary experimental artistic communities demonstrate particular resilience in the face of government interference, lack of financial support and educational malaise – symptoms that resonate across much of the decolonizing world. At in-tangible we understand that the considerably uneven arts infrastructure across what is problematically referred as the ‘Global South’, suffers particular political poverty, whose disenfranchised contexts is of significant impact on the visibility of their artists and cultural thinkers. We thus seek ways to share and learn from each other’s experiences, to give exposure to alternate definitions of what constitutes curatorial practice, emphasising the caring for the intangible labour of artists (eg. where artists are locally valued as teachers, social-welfare officers, archivists, activists and more). Such consideration seeks to nurture principles of value that extend beyond artistic output as merely marketable and commodifiable, to engage how curators and artists today must embrace a plethora of social roles in contemporary life in the sustaining of their communities.
‘WHERE WE DO’
‘in-tangible institute’ will possess modest office, display and residency space in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2024. Its programs will be carried out with clients and program partners globally.
‘in-tangible institute’ was founded in 2022 by curator and writer, Zoe Butt. With over two decades of experience in working across public and private industries for the arts globally, her curatorial practice centres on building and mentoring critically thinking and historically conscious artistic communities, fostering dialogue among cultures of the globalizing souths.
Zoe was Artistic Director of the Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Ho Chi Minh City (2017-2021), Executive Director and Curator, Sàn Art, Ho Chi Minh City (2009–2016); Director, International Programs, Long March Project, Beijing (2007–2009); and Assistant Curator, Contemporary Asian Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2001–2007); this latter post particularly focused on the research and realization of its recurring ‘Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’. Notable curatorial endeavours include Pollination (2018 ongoing), linking curators, artists and private patronage across Southeast Asia; Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber – Journey Beyond the Arrow (2019), one of the most prominent international platforms staging the latest in contemporary art, organized by the Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Conscious Realities (2013-2016) and San Art Laboratory (2012-2015), educational programs and artistic production focused on interdisciplinary expertise from across the Global South; in addition she possesses an extensive exhibition and public speaking career that has sought to promote the depth of under-recognized artistic practice and the little-discussed histories they reveal.
Her writing has been previously published by Hatje Cantz; JRP-Ringier; Routledge; Sternberg Press, to name but a few. She is a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) International Curatorial Fellow, New York; a member of the Asia Society, New York, ‘Asia 21’ initiative; and member of the Asian Art Council, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Zoe earned her PhD by Published Works from the Centre for Research and Education on Art and Media (CREAM), University of Westminster, London and is currently Lead Advisor (South East Asia and Oceania), Kadist Art Foundation, Paris/San Francisco and Academic Advisor, TIMES Museum, Guangzhou.
Come work with us
If you are an emerging curator in Thailand, seeking experience and participation, get in touch!
Kate Fowle has developed, for more than three decades, an international practice as a curator, writer, educator, and director. Currently she is the curatorial senior director at Hauser & Wirth, New York. From 2019–2022 she was director of MoMA PS1. Prior to this she was the inaugural chief curator and artistic director at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia, as well as the director-at-large of Independent Curators International (ICI) in New York, where she was the executive director from 2009–13. In 2010 she founded ICI’s Curatorial Intensive Program, which is now the longest-running international professional development workshop for curators. In 2007 Fowle was appointed as the inaugural international curator at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China, after co-founding and chairing the Master’s Program in Curatorial Practice for California College of the Arts in San Francisco since 2002. Before moving to the United States, she was co-founder of Smith + Fowle in London from 1996–2002 and curator at the Towner Art Gallery and Museum in Eastbourne, East Sussex from 1993-1996. Initially, Fowle was trained as an artist.
May Adadol Ingawanij | เม อาดาดล อิงคะวณิช is a writer, curator, and teacher. She works on Southeast Asian contemporary art; de-westernised and decentred histories and genealogies of cinematic arts; avant-garde legacies in Southeast Asia; forms of future-making in contemporary Global South artistic and curatorial practices; aesthetics and circulation of artists’ moving image, art and independent films belonging to or connected with Southeast Asia. She is Professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Westminster where she co-directs the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media.
Suhanya Raffel is the Museum Director of M+ Hong Kong. She leads M+ and oversees all museum activities, including acquisitions, programming, collections care, development, research, institutional collaborations, and museum operations. Ms Raffel has led the museum’s mission, broadening its international reach and championing its deep connection with its local community. Prior to joining M+, she was the Deputy Director and Director of Collections at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Sydney (2013–16) Australia, and held many senior curatorial positions, including Deputy Director of curatorial and collection development from 2010 and Acting Director in 2012 at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (1994-2013) Australia. Ms Raffel is the President of CIMAM, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (2023-2025) having previously served on the CIMAM Board for 6 years. She is also a member of the Bizot Group (2021 ongoing) and a Trustee of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust and the Lunuganga Trust, Sri Lanka (1994 ongoing).
Natasha Sidharta is Director and Founder of Dana SAM untuk Seni dan Lingkungan (SAM Funds for Arts and Ecology). A few labels that are often attached to her would be collector, enthusiast, connoisseur, or patron. It may all be true, but she does a little bit more than all that. As a part of an ecosystem, she takes the role of caressing and nurturing in various forms. She not only initiates and participates, but she produces differing art exchanges: from producing a retrospective, such as Handiwirman Saputra’s in TOLOT/Heuristic Shinonome, Tokyo (2015); to co-initiating ‘Pollination’ (since 2017) with Zoe Butt, an exchange platform within Southeast Asia, collaborating with varying private art institutions, individuals, and collectives. In 2014, Natasha founded Dana SAM, a grant-giving foundation that supports artistic research, archival work, experimentation, projects, publications, along with various modes of learning and nurturing the art ecosystem. She believes grant giving evolves and necessarily diversifies as an ecosystem grows.