Vast Arts Experience Drives X Contemporary in its Second Edition

TIMEBAG: Colombia N.O.W., exhibited at X Contemporary, Miami (2015). Photo credit: David Almeida

X Contemporary
announces today the career highlights of its leadership team, calling on decades of experience in private art dealing, gallery direction, curation, scholarship, artist management, event production, and global business initiatives.

“We’re thrilled to expand the creative network for our exhibitors and cultivate a deep engagement with the arts,” says Executive Director Crystal Curtis.  “Our storied experts help finesse a far reach of relationships.   They also help us move fast.”

Michael Klein, Consulting Curator for X Contemporary is appointed to spearhead this year’s historic exhibition, following the success of his presentation Grace Hartigan (1960-1965): The Perry Collection in X Contemporary’s debut edition, Miami 2015.

Klein has more than 35 years of working in the arts industry.  In the 1970s, he was the first dealer to buy Robert Longo, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons.  In the 1980s he was the first dealer to buy Peter Schuyff, Richard Prince, Haim Steinbach and Christopher Wool.  And in the 1990s Klein bought the first Damien Hirst sold to an American.

His gallery presented a wide variety of artists from the painters Pat Steir and Dona Nelson to the more conceptual based works of Matt Mullican, James Casebere and Beverly Semmes and the sculptors Jene Highstein, Jackie Ferrara, and Rita McBride.

Klein is also known for innovating the curator’s role during his tenure managing the Microsoft Art Collection in Redmond, WA from 1999-2005, where he directed art acquisitions, commissions, collection management, and an education program for the company’s 50,000 employees.

Pamela Willoughby is appointed as the Artistic Director for X Contemporary, working closely with special curated projects and cultural partners.

Willoughby credits her experiences in New York City in the 1980’s as a major influence on her personal and professional success, having lived in the Chelsea Hotel during the heyday of the artistic and cultural life of that time.

She was part of the scene that was made up of personalities like Leigh Bowery, Rene Ricard, Richard Torry, Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Cookie Mueller,Madonna, Joey Arias, John Waters and Patti Astor.  She was also very close with Susanne Barscht and the artists Larry Rivers and Dennis Oppenheim.

Willoughby was previously director at Mark Borghi Fine Art.  She is also a notable art advisor and artist manager living in East Hampton, New York.

Robert Carrithers, Silk-screen portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat, (c. 1980) exhibited at Willoughby Art Advisory, X Contemporary, Miami (2015). Photo credit: David Almeida

The business trajectory of X Contemporary will be supported by Commercial Director Tom Guldberg.  He is known as a leading think tank emissary and global communication networks expert based in Oslo, Norway.

Crystal Curtis helped launch X Contemporary in 2015 and stepped into her role as sole owner and Executive Director in order to explore innovative and timely exhibition models in an art fair scene that is open to new ideas.

Curtis adds, “[Surrealist painter and poet] Dorthea Tanning said, ‘Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity.’  If X Contemporary identifies an opportunity to host a sensory deprivation tank in a yurt in Taos, New Mexico, we’ll feel that out.”  

Curtis previously served as a professor of Contemporary Art, first at New York University (NYU), then at LIM College between 2006 – 2016.  She is also an internationally exhibiting visual artist, holding an MFA from NYU.  Curtis was born and raised in Southern California and currently lives in New York City.


X Contemporary is an art fair characterized by historic exhibitions launched in 2015, holding its second edition in 2016 in Miami timed during Art Basel Miami Beach.  We’re proud to be known as “the beautiful fair.”  Our mission is to connect the growing art audience with today’s most prolific artists and the relationships that support them.

Posted by Up Close With Sam

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