Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy succeeds Defne Ayas, who has been the director since 2012. Ayas leaves her position after having led the institution successfully for two terms of three years, the maximum for a director, according to Witte de With’s governance code.
Hernández Chong Cuy comes to the position from Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, where she has been its curator of contemporary art since 2011. Originally from Mexico, she has also developed initiatives independently, from teaching, writing and publishing, to serving as counselor for Fundación Alumnos47, to curating museum projects. She most recently organized The Neighbors (2016−17), an exhibition series at The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York, and Let’s Walk Together (2016), a survey exhibition of Mario Garcia Torres at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, the institution which she directed in 2009−2010. Hernández Chong Cuy was artistic director and chief curator of the 9th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre (2013) and an agent of dOCUMENTA (2012) in Kassel. Prior to this, in New York, she was curator and programs manager at Art in General and associate curator at Americas Society.
Kees Weeda, chairman of the board, states: “Witte de With has assumed several identities over the past two and half decades. It has always been an authored space shaped by the latest developments in the field of contemporary art. The question of how to define the organization’s role is one that has been continually re-visited, with every director making their mark. We look forward to the coming period with Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy and to building with her on our current cultural plan. We are convinced that her curatorial leadership and prior experience will further strengthen Witte de With’s position in the field as a pioneering platform for art, culture, and debate—locally, nationally and internationally.
“I am honored and excited to assume the directorship of Witte de With, whose program and contributions to the field I’ve long admired,” said Hernández Chong Cuy. “It is an opportunity to publicly explore ways artists visualize the structures of feeling of our times, and I am committed to do so by creating initiatives that delve in the present, acknowledge cultural archives, and inspire communities of thought.” As director, Hernández Chong Cuy will also address the institution’s most recent decision that a change is to be made to Witte de With’s name in order to more adequately reflect the current values it stands for as an institute for contemporary art and culture. She will engage with artists who she has collaborated with in the past, and whose work, for the most part, has yet to have exposure in the Netherlands. She is also expecting to collaborate with artists whose work she will come to experience and learn about through research conducted during her tenure in Rotterdam.
Kees Weeda expressed that “Under the directorship of Defne Ayas, Witte de With has opened to wider audiences, with a globally far-reaching program that included acclaimed exhibitions, timely public programs, bold publications, and increased educational initiatives. Ayas also redefined the position of Witte de With in its hometown Rotterdam. We thank her for her tireless dedication to raising the profile of our institution nationally and internationally.”
“I am thrilled to see what we were able to achieve in the past six years, in the way we have continued to be a site of excellence for exhibitions, while transforming into a stage for debate about the role of art and culture in society” Ayas stated. “I am grateful for the opportunity I had to work with some of today’s most generous and demanding artists, thinkers, and writers. Sofía’s appointment aligns wonderfully with our ambitions to keep this center a continuously relevant one. She is the perfect person to lead this institution into the next, and possibly the most important, chapter of its evolution.”
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art is supported by the City of Rotterdam and the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science (OCW).
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm
WITTE DE WITH CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
+31 10 411 0144