As the curator for one of Brooklyn’s most popular boutique hotels, artist Kimia Ferdowsi Kline knows she occupies a unique space.
“I’m Iranian; in addition to being female I’m also a minority,” she said. “I’m really conscious when I’m curating in a space, who I’m giving a voice to, who I’m giving opportunities.”
Kline will be speaking at 7 p.m. Friday, July 19 in the Hultquist Center as part of the Visual Arts Lecture Series. She will be discussing the last five years of her artistic practice and her work as the director of art programming for the Wythe Hotel.
At the Wythe, Kline purchases art for the hotel’s extensive permanent collection; original works from New York-based artists are featured in every hotel room. She also curates a new exhibition in the hotel lobby every three months and organizes a number of programs for hotel guests and members of the community.
She uses her job to introduce work from artists she believes might be overlooked elsewhere.
“Typically, these positions are held by Caucasian individuals or male individuals and the percentages of minorities or females in collections like this are pretty slim,” Kline said. “In my case, it’s the majority; the majority of the people in the collection I work with are women and minorities, so that’s a big difference.”
As an artist, Kline is represented by Turn Gallery in New York City, and works primarily in figurative painting and sculpture.
In her talk, Kline will discuss how her work deals with her identity as the daughter of Iranian immigrants. Her family fled Iran before Kline was born because of religious persecution during the Iranian Revolution, and for this reason she is still unable to visit the country. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee.
“It’s hard to pinpoint what part of me is Iranian and what part of me is American,” Kline said. “But I would say the underlying current in all of my artwork is basically this longing and this inability to return to my homeland and how that plays out in my life.”