What began as a collaborative effort between four art professionals in New York led to the birth of Cleopatra’s, a space in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood where artists, curators, writers, designers and musicians work together on projects that further the connections between individual studios, institutions and galleries.
“We often speak about Cleopatra's as a curatorial studio space—a devoted place where the four of us are able to engage in conversations, conduct research, and work with other creative individuals,” explained Bridget Finn, a ’05 graduate of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies photography program. “Our interest was and still is running a space that we could utilize and operate in ways that a gallery or institution could not. Cleo's is the incubator that allows us the ability to develop and refine our collective practice.
“If there’s one thing I have learned through all of my experiences it’s that nothing is out of reach.”
“As a completely non-commercial art space and working archive, Cleopatra's looks to not only produce exhibitions and events in its physical space, but also publications, recordings, documentation and web based projects. The space is more than a showroom; it also acts as a library that houses and makes projects accessible to the public.”
The other creative forces behind Cleopatra’s conception are Erin Somerville (a ’05 graduate of the CCS fine arts program), Bridget Donahue and Kate McNamara. Since Cleopatra’s is non-commercial, all four of its founders work to support its livelihood.
Finn met her current employer, Independent Curators International (ICI), through a project that Cleopatra's was invited to program for Future Tense, ICI's 34th Anniversary Gala. Cleopatra's project, Projection, is a curated selection of screenings features 33 emerging artists and filmmakers. The piece consists of 3-minute, black-and-white silent videos produced in response to the phrase “future tense.”
“Projection has now been shown world-wide,” Finn said. “We have collaborated with musicians in New York (Hex Message) and Detroit (Paul Bancell) to produce live musical scores to accompany the piece.”
Now the Manager of Special Programs at ICI in New York, Finn helps organize exhibitions, plan events, produce publications and create training opportunities for diverse audiences around the world. Over the past 35 years, ICI has profiled the work of more than 3,700 artists. The shows have been presented in 590 museums, university art galleries, and art centers in 48 states and 25 countries worldwide, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Taiwan.
“A catalyst for independent thinking, ICI connects emerging and established curators, artists and institutions to forge international networks and generate new forms of collaboration,” said Finn. “Working across disciplines and historical precedents, the organization is a hub that provides access to the people, ideas, and practices that are key to current developments in the field, inspiring fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art.”
Finn has also held positions with the Anton Kern Gallery in New York, where she provided support to artists as well as managed all of the gallery databases, catalogue production and press outreach, and AIGA | The Professional Association for Design, where she worked closely with the executive director to implement and manage member supported programs and initiatives.
“If there’s one thing I have learned through all of my experiences it’s that nothing is out of reach,” said Finn. “I really enjoy Detroit; it is an amazing, unique city. Take advantage of your time there.”
- Graduation Year: 2005
- Major: Photography
- Employer: Independent Curators International (ICI), Cleopatra's
- Title: Manager of Special Programs, Co-Owner / Operator
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