This month, Jessica Flores begins her important new job as associate curator of contemporary art at the Cincinnati Art Museum. While her position is new, the Cincinnati native has been at the museum for some time and has already curat ed several of its recent contemporary shows, including Richard Pousette-Dart, LeWitt x 2, and Maps & Manifests: New Work by Mark Bradford.
She earned a BFA in painting and art history from Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia and has her master’s from UC’s DAAP program. She’s also a music lover who’s played in bands since age 12.
Q: What’s the coolest thing about you?
Flores: Oddly enough, probably that I’m not cool at all. Or I don’t care about being cool.
I’ve had a cool life so far and meet lots of cool people, but that’s not really about me and I get that. I don’t think that being cool is about fitting in or standing out; it’s more ethereal.
Growing up I never fit in. There weren’t many Latinos on the West Side then, but it went beyond that. Things really change once you discover art and music. You realize that doing your own thing is so much better.
Q: What catches your eye first when looking at contemporary art?
Flores: A lot of contemporary art is not about aesthetics, and therefore you can’t go by what first catches your eye. It requires conversation, contemplation. You have to be willing to dig. Some of the best stuff sneaks up on you.
Q: Who’s the coolest person you know?
Flores: My fella, Greg Poneris of the band Eat Sugar, is pretty cool. It’s not solely because his dance punk works so well with my punk rock. He reads a lot, understands politics, is creative both musically and visually, is bilingual and most importantly makes me laugh. Plus, he let me name his band after an artwork I saw when I was 15. I know lots of other people who would qualify, but I don’t know any of them as well.
JESSICA FLORES’ first Cincinnati Art Museum show in her new position is Ryan McGinness: Aesthetic Comfort Oct. 25-Feb. 15, followed by Jimmy Baker: Hyperclysm.