What makes her interesting: Known for her interactive, collaborative exhibits (such as a live strip poker game in a New York City storefront window!), the new chief curator plans to take MOCA’s art off the gallery walls and into the community. As part of her new position, Finn also oversees the new Gund Foundation Curatorial Fellowship, awarded to an emerging curator from an underrepresented arts community.
Change of Art: Finn started at the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2000 thinking she wanted to work in fiber arts. Midway through the program, she started to change her mind. “I liked spending time talking to artists and learning how they hoped people would enter into their work more than I liked making my own work. I became really interested in how to create scenarios and spaces for storytelling.”
Inspired Learning: That desire to tell stories is enhanced by reading a lot of books. So it helps that Finn’s sister is a school librarian. “I’m interested in what kids are reading. A good children’s book balances complex ideas with simplicity in ways that make you identify with the characters and/or see, feel, hear yourself within the story.”
Naked Ambition: The installation that has gotten Finn the most attention featured a group of people playing strip poker in the window of a Tribeca gallery. Called I’ll Raise You One … by artist Zefrey Throwell, it was a metaphor for the country’s growing economic disparity. “We had a lot of people who might have never come into our gallery, standing on the street saying, ‘What is this?’ I love when art can create a space for dialogue.”
World Traveler: Most of Finn’s childhood was spent abroad — Hong Kong, Switzerland, London and Brazil. Her father worked in private wealth management and his job responsibilities kept the family moving around. “It made me really adaptable and pretty social.” Being exposed to a variety of different cultures and ideas at a young age “really showed me that there’s no one way to do anything.”
New Perspectives: When she takes over Jan. 15, Finn is most excited to work on the Gund fellowship and bring in new voices and perspectives. “I think it is incredibly important that a museum be comprised of a multitude of voices, especially when it comes to shaping its program and contributing to ways that stories and narratives are built and shared.”
Three and Out:
What’s your favorite time of day?
Midafternoon, especially after lunch. That’s when my brain really kicks into gear.
What’s advice would you give your teenage self?
Remember to breathe. Also, no matter how it feels, it’s not important what other people think about you.
What would you feed your friends if they came over for dinner?
A snack platter. Lots of crudites, a bunch of dips, cheeses and cured meats.