The Innovators: Defining Change in the Art World

Edited by Sharon Louden and Jessica Lynne
Publishing date: 2020

The Innovators will be published in February 2020 as a sister publication to the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series. Published by Intellect Books and distributed by the University of Chicago Press, this new book will address how traditional roles within the contemporary art world have been changing and evolving over the years. 

The Innovators will comprise 25 essays by artists, critics, gallery dealers, museum professionals, and curators sharing their personal stories and professional trajectories. Their first-hand accounts will highlight a more inclusive contemporary art landscape where boundaries between arts professionals — once clearly distinct from one another — have been crumbling for years. For many reasons, across the visual arts sector, different roles are now merging into one another.

It’s not uncommon to find artists that regularly curate exhibitions, or critics who are showing their own work, or museum professionals who are also building and managing their own dynamic, alternative institutions. By centering the voices of this group of multi-talented contributors, The Innovators aims to make transparent the reasons for these new modes of working and the ways in which our art communities can benefit as a result.

We seek to inspire the next generation of artists and arts professionals to embrace this new boundary-bending contemporary art landscape so that we can accelerate moving art into the public realm. 

The Innovators will focus on the following:

  • identifying thought leaders  and key stakeholders who are agents of change in the art world today: producers, facilitators, connectors
  • defining current and future trends while recommending what needs to change
  • describing the cross-pollination between curators, writers, artists, etc. and the multiple hats worn by each
  • discussing the "power" dynamic exhibited by various roles held within the art world 
  • revealing the truth of critics, writers, curators, artists’ lives; unveiling their identities and experiences
  • redefining broadly how the visual arts ecosystem can change and evolve
  • detailing new models of collaboration springing up on a regular basis 


Jessica Lynne


Sharon Louden