Helen Opper is an independent contemporary art curator, consultant, and professor based in Oklahoma City. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Helen studied art history as an undergraduate at Vassar College and the University of California, Berkeley, and earned her Master’s degree in Museum Studies from New York University. After living and working in the contemporary art world in San Francisco and New York for several years, Helen moved back to Oklahoma City in 2015 and now travels wherever work and play take her.
She has worked with important museums, galleries, advisors and appraisers, and private collections, and is available to consult on an array of services within the modern and contemporary fine art field. She specializes in curatorial work and artist advocacy; market research and art valuation; collections and database management; and art writing and editing. Her areas of art historical interest and scholarship include activist, feminist, and collective art practice; the artistic output of 1960s-‘90s downtown New York; post-1960 exhibition history and institutional critique; the California Finish Fetish movement; modernist Latin American art; ancient South and Southeast Asian architecture; land art; contemporary photography; and digital and new media art.
Currently, Helen consults for Shea Art Advisory, a contemporary art advisory and appraisal firm based in New York and Los Angeles; works as the Curator at The Art Hall in Oklahoma City; and teaches Art Appreciation at Oklahoma City Community College. For a complete CV, please contact Helen.
Helen is an avid traveler, Oklahoma State Fair prize-winning pound cake baker, old piano restorer, amateur jewelry maker, self-designated chef, adventure seeker, and lover of architecture and animals. She takes lots of pictures with her iPhone. Please see "my photography" for unedited images from her own collection.
Helen knows that art should respond to the complexities of contemporary culture, politics, and identity, and she embraces work that questions, examines, and defies the status quo and that challenges the current world order. One of her goals is to work with artists traditionally underrepresented in the fine art world, and to expand equal access to avenues to artistic success.
MAKE ART MEAN SOMETHING!
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Oklahoma City Community College Inasmuch Foundation Gallery
The Art Hall at the Rise, Oklahoma City
Hespe Gallery, San Francisco
Vivian Horan Fine Art, New York
Coleccíon Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York
Collection of Sigmund R. Balka, New York
Shea Art Advisory, Inc., New York/Los Angeles
ArtPlay, New York/Los Angeles
Cromwell Art, New York
Residency Unlimited, New York
The Wassaic Project, New York
Below is a selection of publications and research projects undertaken during my graduate studies. Please get in touch for further information.
“Lynda Benglis at the New Museum: Examining Curatorial Strategies of a Living Artist’s Retrospective,” Anamesa: An Interdisciplinary Journal, published by the John W. Draper Program at New York University, Spring 2012. Available for viewing/download here.
This Culture Will Not Be Taken For Granted! Group Material: The Artist Collaborative’s Curatorial and Exhibitionary Strategies, MA Thesis, Program in Museum Studies, New York University, April 2012.
The Times Square Show and the Creation of a New Exhibitionary Model, research paper for Exhibition History course at New York University, May 2011.
Carlos Cruz-Diez in Conversation with Ariel Jimenez, e-book organized by the Fundación Cisneros/Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, 2010-2011.