November 18, 2020

This morning the Serpentine Galleries in London announced that Yesomi Umolu has been appointed Director of Curatorial Affairs and Public Practice to oversee the institution’s curatorial, interpretation and editorial activities across all programs. We hope you will join us in congratulating Somi and thanking her for all she has accomplished over the last five years as Director and Curator of Logan Center Exhibitions. 

Under Somi’s visionary leadership, the exhibitions program introduced the University and the City of Chicago to an extraordinary group of internationally renowned contemporary artists including Larry Achiampong, Kapwani Kiwanga, Candice Lin, Mariana Castillo Deball, and Camille Norment. Using a remarkable process-based approach to cultural production, Somi’s extraordinary curatorial work resulted in a number of important new commissions and several influential publications, including the forthcoming publication Harold Mendez: The Years Now.

Thanks to Somi’s contributions, Logan Center Exhibitions has received recognition in major media outlets and garnered generous funding from national and international funders. Working with the other members of the Logan Center Exhibitions team, Alyssa Brubaker and Marcus Warren, Somi partnered with colleageus in the Department of Visual Arts (DoVA) to host the annual BA and MFA exhibitions. In addition, Somi taught in the Department of Art History, offering classes that were often related to her curatorial research and practice, including her most recent work as Artistic Director of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Please join me in thanking Somi for all she has done for the Logan Center and the broader arts community at the University and in Chicago. We wish her the very best as she and her family move to London in the New Year. Somi’s last day will be November 20, 2020.

Somi and the Logan Center Exhibitions team have been developing two upcoming exhibitions. Assuming public health conditions allow, Logan Center Exhibitions hopes to present K. Kofi Moyo and FESTAC '77: The Activation of a Black Archive, curated by Romi Crawford and Theaster Gates in partnership with their current Gray Center fellowship this winter, and the DoVA BA and MFA exhibitions this spring. In addition, the Logan Center is working in partnership with the Smart Museum of Art to present the work of Carrie Mae Weems as part of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40 this summer. 

As we consider the future of the Logan Center Exhibitions program in light of Somi’s transition to this exciting opportunity in London, the Logan Center remains committed to maintaining the very highest standards of arts practice, inquiry, and presentation by fostering meaningful collaborations around the University, across the South Side, and beyond. Over the next few months, we will work in collaboration with faculty and other colleagues across the University and Chicago to consider the best long-term path forward for the Logan Center Exhibitions program that builds on the many strengths developed under Somi’s leadership and supports the success of  DoVA, UChicago Arts, and our partners across the South Side.

Bill Michel

Associate Provost and Executive Director
UChicago Arts and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Interim, Co-Director, Smart Museum of Art