The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) today announced the appointment of Denise Ryner as its Andrea B. Laporte Curator, effective immediately. With experience working at academic and artist-led non-profits and museums internationally, Ryner has served most recently as the Director and Curator at Or Gallery in Vancouver, which advances emerging, conceptual, and experimental art practices, and as an Associate Guest Curator at Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin. Ryner joins ICA as it looks ahead to its 60th anniversary and will collaborate closely with Zoë Ryan, the ICA’s Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director, and Hallie Ringle, ICA’s Brett Sundheim Chief Curator, in the advancement of new curatorial programs and initiatives.
Ryner’s curatorial practice emphasizes the role of location as an active participant in exhibitions and she brings an interest in exploring the cultural production of transnational exchanges during the 19th and 20th centuries. In her position as Director and Curator at Or Gallery from 2017 to 2022, Ryner was responsible for conceptualizing and presenting a dynamic programming cycle of exhibitions, symposia, and publications. Major projects included Unmoored, Adrift, Ashore, a multiday symposium considering the impact of climate change on relationships with land, property, and future, which was developed in collaboration with HKW; and Whose Land Have I Lit on Now?, an exhibition and weekend of programming considering concepts of hospitality and hostility, presented in collaboration with Savvy Contemporary. In the areas of access and capacity-building alongside racialized communities and cultural workers, Ryner developed a curatorial residency and mentorship program in addition to the youth-led policy consultation initiative, “Schooling the Institution.” She additionally oversaw the relocation of Or Gallery and its 35-year archive, along with the overhaul of its visual identity.
“With her experience working at the intersections of art and academia, Denise brings an exciting perspective and expertise that will enhance the reach, relevance, and impact of ICA’s exhibitions,” says Ryan. “On behalf of the ICA Board and staff, I am thrilled to be welcoming her to join our team as we advance our mission as an experimental hub for contemporary art from around the world.”