The Curator’s Wishlist: Emie Diamond Interview

“Art is the culmination of conflict, beauty and the human experience in a form that is tangible.” Curator, critic and writer Emie Diamond shares her wishlist with us.

By Tatty Martin | 09 Jun 2022

Emie Diamond is an Art Critic, Curator and Writer living and working in London. Bridging the gap between “the academic and the commercial”, Emie’s approach has taken influence from a wealth of experience. Whether undertaking her next Master’s degree or curating an exhibition in partnership with Soho House, Emie is well versed in the world of modern and contemporary art.

We recently sat down with Emie to learn about her journey in the New York and London art scenes, what exciting projects she’s currently working on, and what pieces she decided to choose for her Curator’s Wishlist.

Tell us about yourself, and your journey as a writer, critic, and curator

An early infatuation with literature led me to initially study English. Although, the course of my life altered after enrolling in an art history course while living in Rome. I realised that art is the culmination of conflict, beauty and the human experience in a form that is tangible. Time standing still. I was enthralled! 

My first foray into art education was a Master’s degree at Harvard where I wrote my thesis on contemporary art culture post-1980s. I then moved to New York and proceeded to work in the art industry. I was constantly going to gallery openings and visiting studios. I absolutely love learning about the artist’s process and the methodology behind their practice. Contemporary art really excited me, as it is history in the making. I began an independent curatorial platform where I produced exhibitions for sixteen artists and collaborated with companies such as The Standard, Prospect NY, Soho House, etc. This past year I completed a History of Art Master’s degree at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where I specialised in curating modern art. I have written for a variety of publications from academic journals like Courtauld’s Immediations to arts and culture magazines like Cultured, Hunger, The Critic, etc.

Emailed JPEG Kiss Goodnight, 2016, by Tabitha Soren

When selecting works for your Curator’s Wishlist, did you notice a trend in the artworks you chose?

Yes! I found that I am particularly drawn to ambient and shadowy lighting, a moody palette, figuration, unusual reflections, and works with historical references.

Backstage Cabaret, Balloon Girls, 2019, by Kate McCrickard

What was the first work of art you ever collected?

I have a few works I cherish that have been given to me over the years. One piece that makes me smile is a landscape by the lovely New York-based artist Nicole Wittenberg.

Alchemy, 2021, by Andrea Solaja

What periods or art movements throughout history are you drawn to?

Very difficult to choose, though I will try! I love the Pre-raphaelites, early photography, the Bloomsbury group, and have always had a soft spot for Gertrude Stein’s milieu of avant-garde Parisians at rue de Fleurus. 

For my Courtauld dissertation, I interpreted portraits of Stein and set out to analyse her impact on contemporary culture. I find her inventive rhetoric amusing ‘a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.’

Study after Turner’s The Fall of Anarchy (2020) by Adam Reid

How do the London or New York art scenes differ?

They are very different and I love them both. I will always have an appreciation for New York because that was where I learned to curate my own shows. The city breeds an optimistic attitude that led me to take on every project that came my way, which was extremely hard work but equally rewarding. There are endless exhibitions to see and most nights I had conflicting commitments, but I enjoyed the intensity of the scene. 

In London, people are still enthusiastic and ambitious, but I’ve noticed there is an added kindness that resonates with me. People in the London art world also tend to be more tuned into the international art scene and embrace a global perspective, which is great. In New York, I saw everything all the time, whereas in London attending shows feels much more deliberate. Perhaps it is a bit of quality versus quantity.

In My Mind, I See A Line, 2018, by Yannis Guibinga

Who are a few of your favourite artists on the platform?

Andrea Solaja, Kate McCrickard, Geoffrey Ansel Agrons, and Yannis Guibinga.

World Series – Southern Ocean 4, 2020, by Philip Maltman

What exciting projects do you have on the horizon?

My piece on NFTs and women recently came out in print for Hunger Magazine, which was a labour of love. I was selected by the academic periodical Woman’s Art Journal to review Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel- this will be published in the coming months. Cultured Magazine just sent me to Turkey to write an article on the art of Bodrum- should be out next week. I am in discussions for several curatorial projects for autumn, which I am excited about! Any upcoming happenings will be posted about on my Instagram @emiediamond.

Angelia S. Rico

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