Jesse Bandler Firestone
Curator & Writer
Art as Nexus
*Website Under Construction*
Co-Curator, a group exhibition on queer and feminist land art (Wave Hill, 2024*)
Lead Curator and Producer, Untitled Mood Lighting by Isaac Pool (Wave Hill, 2022*)
Lead Curator, The Nature of Family Portraits with Destiny Belgrave, Sean-Kierre Lyons, Devin Osorio, Maia Cruz Palileo (Wave Hill, 2022*)
*To be announced
B. 1992, New York, NY.
I am a dynamic curator and published writer who understands art as a connective thread within the breadth of the human experience. Known as a collaborative, sensitive, and forward-thinking programmer dedicated to accessibility, and inclusion, I work with artists from diverse backgrounds, of varying abilities, and with distinct approaches to artmaking. Within my work, I foster an interdisciplinary approach to advance institutional missions and engage artists, staff, and audiences. In the ten years that I have been working in the field, I've successfully launched new initiatives, commissioned works, and overseen best practices while centering DEIA-driven values and procedures at civic institutions, art spaces, and private collections.
I am currently a full time curator and arts administrator at Wave Hill, a garden and cultural center in The Bronx, where I work between contemporary art exhibitions, performance, and music. Working with artists in the context of a historic estate and garden presents unique opportunities to foster dialogues across horticulture, adult and family programs, and public art. Seeking out ways to collaborate across departments is a motivating factor behind my work. In addition, I manage an annual artist residency called the Winter Workspace and the Van Lier Fellowship, a year-long program dedicated to supporting emerging artists as they realize new commissions. Increasing access to the gardens is another core component of my curatorial work and I am an active member of the DEIA committee. I also organize “Beyond Sight”, an ongoing public program designed for visually impaired and partially sighted audiences that centers conversations between exhibiting artists and attendees.
Prior to joining Wave Hill, I was the Open Call Assistant at The Shed and managed 52 commissions by early-career artists. During that time, I also was a Curatorial Advisor for BRIC's 2019 Biennial. My entry into New York's creative community started in 2016 when I was Curator in Residence at Trestle Gallery. From 2015-2018, I was Assistant Curator at Satellite Art Show, an artist-run fair dedicated to supporting emerging artists and artist-run spaces.
My experiences working with established non-profits, scrappy project spaces, and start-up minded organizations has provided me with a unique perspective and a professional nimbleness that informs the way I navigate relationships between artists, vendors, stakeholders, and all the players in between. Ultimately, I revere the creative power of artists and contstantly seek ways to engage in the worlds and affects they create.