College for Creative Studies: Photography


Bridget Finn

Independent Curators International (ICI), Cleopatra's

Associate Director of Strategic Planning & ICI Projects (ICI)/Co-O

What began as a collaborative effort between four art professionals in New York led to the birth of Cleopatra’s, a non-commercial art space based in Brooklyn that has hosted over 100 projects in the past five years and been featured in over 25 print and online publications worldwide.

“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, co-owner and operator of Cleopatra’s. “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.

“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’s also as a library that will house and make 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. In September 2012, the collective curated an exhibition titled CKTV (a series of over 50 karaoke videos by emerging Brooklyn artists) for the Brooklyn City Pavilion at the 9th Shanghai Biennale and in 2013 traveled an iteration of that project to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in New York. In addition, Cleopatra’s is currently collaborating with Vox Populi (PA) to explore the current role of artist-run spaces within the broader artistic community.

“The two groups are in the process of surveying alternative and artist-run spaces around the US in order to develop a network and foster dialogues between like-minded initiatives,” said Finn. “This research will culminate as a web platform following Remake/Remodel, the project's concluding conference that took place in Philadelphia in August of 2013.”

In addition to her role at Cleopatra’s, Finn also works at Independent Curators International (ICI). She first connected with ICI through a project that Cleopatra's was invited to program for Future Tense, ICI's 34th Anniversary Gala. Now, as the Associate Director of Strategic Planning & ICI Projects, she supports fresh ways of seeing and contextualizing contemporary art for ICI's diverse audiences. Over the past 38 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,”

“I really enjoyed the time that I spent living in Detroit during and following my years at CCS. Detroit; it is an amazing, unique city. Take advantage of your time there.”

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