Feb 25 2015

Christine Tohme to Receive Audrey Irmas Award

by Katherine Volk

Christine Tohme (left), one of the 2015 Audrey Irmas Award  winners for curatorial excellence, during the opening of Home Workspace, 2011. Photo by Houssam Mchaiemch. Courtesy Ashkal Alwan, Beirut. 

Christine Tohme will receive the 2015 Audrey Irmas Award for curatorial excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York state.  The award celebrates individual accomplishments of curators “whose lasting contributions have shaped the way we conceive exhibition-making today.” Tohme is the founding director of the Lebanese Association for Plastic Art (Ashkal Alwan), a non-profit organization based in Beirut.

Ashkal Alwan is dedicated to research, production and circulation of contemporary practices. It encourages engagement in critical thinking around current discussions and issues. In 2002, the organization instigated Home Works: A Forum on Cultural Practices.  Currently in its sixth edition, with programs curated by Tohme, Home Works is a platform for curators, artists and cultural practitioners to come together for ten days to share their work via exhibitions, discussions and performances. Home Workspace was launched in 2011 as a multipurpose facility committed to arts education. The tuition-free art study program is also accessible to the general public through other outlets, such as lectures and activities.  Tohme’s work has provided an arena for free thought and critical reflection, as well as nurturing regional and international cultural exchange.

Tohme is on the board of Marsa, a sexual health center in Beirut that specializes in medical services for at-risk youth and marginalized communities, as well as a board member of Saha in Istanbul, which supports contemporary art from Turkey.

Also receiving the award this year is Martha Wilson, a revolutionary feminist artist and gallery director based in New York. Over the past four decades Wilson has created art that explores her female subjectivity and throughout her long career, she has garnered attention for her provocative performances. She founded and continues to direct Franklin Furnace, New York, an experimental art space that challenges the artist’s role within society and institutional norms.

The awards will be presented at a gala celebration and dinner, to be held April 15, 2015, in New York City.