Soft Network aims to develop and expand networks of support between contemporary artists, artist estates and foundations through the collective realization of interdisciplinary exhibitions, resource sharing and collaborative programming.
Soft Network was established in 2021 by curator Chelsea Spengemann and artist Sara VanDerBeek, of the Stan VanDerBeek Archive, and expanded in 2022 with the participation of art historian Marie Warsh and artist Max Warsh, of the Estate of Rosemary Mayer. Inspired by these artists’ socially engaged practices, Soft Network will transition to a 501c3 in 2023 and will continue to support experimental art and exhibition strategies with an increased focus on artist estates, legacy building and community engagement through residency and workshop initiatives on site at its Manhattan studio.
Chelsea Spengemann is an independent curator and consultant with a specialization in artist estates. She is currently director of the Stan VanDerBeek Archive where she has overseen installations and acquisitions of VanDerBeek’s multimedia works as well as the preservation of VanDerBeek's experimental films since 2008. Spengemann also recently began working with the estate of filmmaker and photographer Susan Brockman. In 2019 Spengemann co-curated VanDerBeek + VanDerBeek with Sara VanDerBeek at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, NC and co-founded the professional resource group AFELL (Artists’ Foundations and Estate Leaders’ List). She was the curator for Becoming Disfarmer in 2014 and the Instant as Image in 2016, both for the Neuberger Museum of Art at SUNY Purchase; and in 2009 she organized FLOAT at Socrates Sculpture Park. Her writing has appeared in Afterimage, Affidavit and Art Journal Open. She has an MFA in Photography from ICP/Bard College, an MA in Art History from Purchase College and in 2019 completed the Aspen Institute Seminar for Artist Endowed Foundation Leaders.
Sara VanDerBeek is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. VanDerBeek’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Art; Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, Asheville, North Carolina (with Stan VanDerBeek) and co-curated with Chelsea Spengemann; the Baltimore Museum of Art; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam NL; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fondazione Memmo, Rome; Metro Pictures, New York; Altman Siegel, San Francisco and the Approach, London. Recent exhibitions include Future Variations, 2022 at Showroom, NY, Chorus, 2021, a solo exhibition at Altman Siegel Gallery, SF; and New Time: Art and Feminisms in the Twenty-First Century, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA (2021-2022). VanDerBeek began a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in Spring 2022.
Marie Warsh is a historian, writer, and the co-director of the Estate of Rosemary Mayer. She has helped organize numerous exhibitions of Mayer’s work and has edited several books, including Excerpts from the 1971 Journal of Rosemary Mayer (2016 & 2020), Beware of All Definitions (2017), Temporary Monuments: Work by Rosemary Mayer, 1977-1982 (2018), and The Letters of Bernadette and Rosemary Mayer (2022). From 2005-2022, she worked for the Central Park Conservancy where she was involved in various aspects of the history, preservation, and interpretation of Central Park. She has also written widely on the history of parks, playgrounds, and other landscapes and is the author of Central Park’s Adventure-Style Playgrounds: Renewal of a Midcentury Legacy (2019). She has an MA in Landscape Studies from the Bard Graduate Center and an BA in Art History from Smith College.
Max Warsh is co-director of the Estate of Rosemary Mayer, consultant for The Shirley Gorelick Foundation. From 2017 to 2021, Max Warsh was the Director of Programming at the New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA); and from 2010 to 2017, he was co-founder and director of the artist-run gallery Regina Rex, New York. In addition to organizing numerous exhibitions at galleries in New York and other cities, Warsh has also worked as a curatorial consultant for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Assistant Editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Warsh received his MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004, and his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2002.As an artist, Warsh’s artwork has been included in exhibitions at the Queens Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the Eduardo Sívori Museum in Buenos Aires, AR and the Sirius Arts Centre in Cobh, Ireland; and galleries such as CPM, Baltimore; The Pit, Los Angeles; Longhouse Projects, New York; New Capital, Chicago; Shoot the Lobster, New York and others.