Hello, I’m Danny Orendorff.

I’m a curator and writer whose work explores the intersections of DIY and/or craft-oriented cultural production, histories of grassroots social-justice activism, and intersectional theories of identity.

Currently, I work as the Senior Director of Programs & Engagement at The Contemporary Austin in Austin, TX. There, I oversee public programming, education, and the Art School, as well as new and expansive community engagement initiatives.

From May 2018 – October 2022, I was the Executive Director of Vox Populi in Philadelphia, PA. Founded in 1988, Vox Populi is a contemporary art space and artist collective that works to support the challenging and experimental work of under-represented artists with monthly exhibitions, gallery talks, performances, lectures, and related programming. For over 30 years, Vox Populi has played a unique role in the cultural life of Philadelphia by bringing our audience a diverse range of programming and providing a supportive environment in which artists can take risks and gain valuable professional experience.

Formerly, I worked as Curator of Public Programs for the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, where I planned a range of discursive, cinema, workshop/demonstration, and performance programs in support of Museum exhibitions. At MAD, I also curated the 6th Floor Education Center’s Project Space, as well as special projects and exhibitions occurring either in the Museum’s main galleries or 7th Floor Event Space. Projects included the exhibition Studio Views: Craft in the Expanded Field (co-curated with Carli Beseau) and the durational performance event Kinetic Intimacies (co-curated with Angelik Vizcarrondo-Laboy).

From 2018-2019, I served as Curatorial Consultant for Envisioning Justice, an initiative created and facilitated by Illinois Humanities that engaged Chicagoans in conversation about the impact of mass incarceration in local communities, culminating in a 2019 exhibition curated by Alexandria Eregbu at The Sullivan Galleries of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Other recent independent curatorial endeavors include showings of new work by artists Jesse Harrod and Chris Bogia at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York City. In 2017, I completed work on a celebrated group exhibition and publication examining the ongoing HIV/AIDS crisis through the lens of youth, race, and pop culture titled One day this kid will get larger, held at the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago.

I have served as a Lecturer at the Tyler School of Art & Architecture at Temple University and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Program Director and Manager of The Propeller Fund for the Chicago non-profit gallery Threewalls; and was 2013-2015 Curator-in-Residence for The Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, MO, where I also assumed duties as Interim Director of Artistic Programs from mid-2014 to early-2015.

Past exhibitions I’ve curated have been presented by Antenna Gallery (New Orleans, LA), The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (Asheville, NC), SFCamerawork Gallery (San Francisco, CA), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA), Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College (Chicago, IL), HF Johnson Gallery of Art at Carthage College (Kenosha, WI), and MU Gallery (Eindhoven, The Netherlands).

Frequently collaborating with contemporary art venues around the country, I have also published catalogue/brochure essays for exhibitions of work by Simone Leigh and Kate Gilmore at the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute; Sabina Ott at the Chicago Cultural Center; Phyllis Bramson at the Rockford Art Museum; and Tanya Hartman at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, among others. My writing has also appeared on Art in America Online, Art21, Art Practical, Bad at Sports, and in Camerawork: Journal of Photographic Arts.