Kathy Huang joined Jeffrey Deitch in 2017 and is Managing Director, Art Advisory and Special Projects.
Huang manages Deitch’s art advisory services and special projects. She has also organized exhibitions such as Richard Bernstein: FAME (2018), Ai Weiwei: Zodiac (2018), Judy Chicago: Los Angeles (2019), Dominique Fung: It’s Not Polite To Stare (2021), and Wonder Women (2022). Raised in Philadelphia, Huang earned a BA from Duke University and a MA in Modern & Contemporary Asian Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
Art has been a part of my life from an early age, but I didn’t seriously think about pursuing a career in this industry until I was in college, interning at the university’s museum and taking more art history classes. As a visual learner, I felt that art and art history could teach me more about the world, history, and myself more than any other class.
Where are you from and what is the arts community like there? How has your upbringing shaped what you do in the arts today?
I’m from the suburbs of Philadelphia, closely bordering Delaware. The arts community is almost non-existent where I’m from, and I didn’t grow up going to any of the museums in Philadelphia. Then, my art knowledge was limited to learning about artists like Van Gogh and Picasso and Matisse. Now, I’m more interested in contemporary art and Asian American artists because I can resonate with it. I’m also more interested in helping and growing with artists who are my peers.
What does the day-to-day look like at your role of Managing Director – Art Advisory & Special Projects at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery?
My day-to-day really varies but always consists of a lot of office work, meetings, and emails. The best days include studio visits, gallery/museum visits, and openings.
You recently curated Wonder Women, a group exhibition that was shown at Jeffrey Deitch. Tell us more about this project and what led to its conception.
I had always wanted to organize a show featuring Asian American and diasporic artists but a theme didn’t crystallize for me until, during the early days of the pandemic, I came across a poem by the Chinese American writer Genny Lim titled “Wonder Woman.” In the poem, the narrator is walking along a river, wondering about the lives of other Asian women. I resonated with this curiosity, as someone whose experience is limited to that of a Chinese American woman growing up in a predominantly white suburb. I wanted to present a theme that allowed the artists to interpret it as they wished — addressing wonder as it relates to themselves, their communities, and their histories. I also liked that Wonder Women held a dual meaning, evoking the superhero/heroine and, beyond that, situating ourselves as protagonists in a larger story.
Is there a milestone or event this year at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery or in your own curatorial practice that we can look forward to?
My next big project is working on a book for Wonder Women.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
Jeffrey reminds us of this often — invest in cultivating your relationships in the art world..
If you could own work by any five artists/craftspeople, who would be in your collection?
Martin Wong, Domenico Gnoli, Marlene Dumas, Candice Lin, and Archibald Motley.