CAA News Today
CAA Staff Spotlight: Mira Friedlaender
posted by CAA — Mar 10, 2023
Mira Friedlaender is CAA’s Senior Manager of Annual Conference and Programs. Since joining CAA in 2018, Mira has worked with a significant portion of members (new and returning!) and continues to do so each year to support their participation in conference sessions and events. She produces the event with CAA staff, committees, and partners, attending to myriad details while also working to refine and reshape the conference each year in support of CAA’s long-term strategic goals. Mira was previously an exhibition manager for nonprofits such as No Longer Empty and HappyLuckyNo1. She also worked in television production and co-owned a restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.
As an artist and independent scholar of art stewardship, Mira has exhibited locally and internationally, and her work has been featured in the New York Times and Bomb. She has held residencies at the American Center in Bangladesh and Recess in New York. She is the Director of the Bilge Friedlaender Estate, was a fellow in the Art & Law Program, and cocurated Bilge Friedlaender: Words, Numbers, Lines in Istanbul.
“Since her death, I’ve been stewarding the art my mother Bilge Friedlaender (née Civelekoglu) made, beginning more actively in 2014 with my project at Recess, which was still in Soho at that time. I’ve contributed to the scholarship on artist estates through this work and through knowledge sharing; as an artist and artist’s heir I am most interested in performing an emotional institutional critique of the challenges artist-stewards face, particularly those without infinite resources,” explains Mira.
Curated by Işın Önol, Bilge Friedlaender’s never-before-seen works from the 1970s are on view now at Sapar Contemporary in New York City through April 10. Bilge’s work occupies a unique place in the Turkish and Middle Eastern modernist tradition as well as in the history of twentieth-century American art, especially the soulful minimalism of 1970s—not unlike the work of Zarina Hashmi, Etel Adnan, and Huguette Caland. Bilgé’s minimalism is infused with Sufi mysticism, sacred numerology, and reverence for nature and the divine feminine. Her spiritual feminism evolved into an overt ecofeminism as she grew older.
“My mother left Turkey in 1958 to come to the US and be an artist, and she exhibited until her death. Since 2015 there has been a museum show of her work in Istanbul and there have been subsequent opportunities for Bilge’s work, but this is the first time her work has been shown in New York City since 1981. This is a big step for the estate. Next, we are looking to travel this incredible selection of the works on paper and artist books with the goal of expanding the scholarship around Bilge’s artworks and extensive writings.”
Join Mira and curator Işın Önol in conversation with guests on April 4, 6 p.m. ET, at Sapar Contemporary.