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Jack Radley, BFA in Studio Art ’19



Jack Radley, BFA/AB ‘19, is a writer, independent curator, arts administrator, and co-founder of ACOMPI, a curatorial project that expands the intersection of independent curation and site-responsive engagement.


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Intro
I’m an editor, writer, and independent curator. Currently I’m the editor at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City. I work with language across the museum — on the walls, on the website, on social media, and then I also bleed into multilingualism.

MoMA
We’ve embarked on a really an ambitious and exciting project to decenter English at the museum and offer languages such as Spanish and Mandarin across programming and wayfinding. I work on building that out and adding resources and additional languages to our exhibitions and our digital content.

ACOMPI
I also have an independent project called ACOMPI that I started in 2020 with my collaborator, Constanza Valenzuela. ACOMPI was born during the pandemic, and it was a product of us having more time than usual to think about what kind of art we wanted to see.

The first project we did was this symposium at NYU called “What Can New York City Art Museums Do for Immigrant Communities?” We brought representatives from the Brooklyn Museum, the Queens Museum, MoMA, and the Whitney, and really brought people doing similar important work together. They don’t get the opportunity to collaborate and dialogue with each other as much as they could. We talked about what work museums can do as civic institutions.

Defining Success
I’m really interested in work that’s a little more active. ACOMPI doesn’t make any money and I think the beauty of that is that Constanza and I define success in terms of what experience we’re giving people and what experience we’re having. We’re interested in a lot of performative work, a lot of large-scale sculpture, and nuanced responses to specific sites that might only exist for a moment in time. I think that it’s our gift that we get to put our labor into projects without wanting this financial outcome.

Variety of Projects
Canal Street Research Association was a fictitious office space where artists who are already investigating bootlegs can have a hub to share their research with the public and learn from. During the pandemic there was a really rare occurrence in New York: there was available real estate. Usually, you’re fighting for a venue or working out some kind of deal. But for the first time, there were empty commercial buildings that landlords really wanted to activate. We were presented with this opportunity to have a storefront space on Canal Street. And we thought about how we could use that to do something innovative and tie in with artists already really invested with Canal Street, which is the epicenter of counterfeit goods in New York.

Another project was a haunted house. It was a one-night-only event where poets, comedians, performers, dancers, and other kinds of artists came together and really birthed something that was an exciting experience.

Constanza and virI often say that we want to make projects that we want to see. We think about what it means for art to be alive, and for the people there to actually be part of making the work.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

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Ming Lin and Alex Tatarsky in Canal Street Research Association, 2021. Photo: Sabrina Santiago for The New York Times

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Diana Sofia Lozano, Suspended in the Iris, 2021. Courtesy ACOMPI. Photo: Daniel Terna

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Alex Tatarsky performs in Sugar Hell. 2023. Courtesy ACOMPI. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

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Dead Guy performs in Sugar Hell, 2023. Courtesy ACOMPI. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

About Jack Radley

Jack Radley, BFA/AB ’19, is a writer, independent curator, and arts administrator. His writing has been published in Hyperallergic, Boston Art Review, Berlin Art Link, and more. Together with Constanza Valenzuela, he is the co-founder of ACOMPI, a New York-based curatorial project that aims to “expand the intersection of independent curatorial practice and site-responsive public engagement,” particularly in connection with interdisciplinary collaboration.