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Beth Sorensen
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Whitney Museum curator Lawrence Rinder Â’83 to speak

Reed College's 95th commencement ceremonies will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 19, under the tent on Reed's south lawn. This year approximately 288 graduates will receive bachelor's degrees, and 2 will receive master of arts in liberal studies degrees. The event is not open to the public.

The commencement speaker will be Lawrence Rinder, chief curator of contemporary art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and a 1983 Reed graduate. (See biographical notes below.)

If you’d like to send reporters or camera crews, please call Nadine Fiedler at 503/777-7590 or send email to

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Lawrence Rinder ’83 holds one of the most prominent positions in the art world: he has been Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York City, since 2000. A native of Manhattan, Rinder was chief curator of the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the museum's defining tradition and often its most controversial exhibition (called by Artforum "the most closely observed exhibition this side of Venice"). Rinder had served previously as one of six curators of the 2000 Whitney Biennial and as an adviser to the 1991 and 1993 Biennials. In his role as curator Rinder is responsible for the contemporary portfolio of the museum, including exhibitions and acquisitions of works made since 1985, and selects the contemporary works on continual view in the Whitney's second-floor permanent collection galleries. He was also responsible for curating, with Debra Singer, BitStreams, the Whitney's groundbreaking 2001 exhibition on the influence of digital technology on contemporary art.

Rinder has also held posts as curator for 20th-century art and the MATRIX program at the Berkeley Art Museum, and as director of the CCAC Institute at the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco and Oakland. The total of 89 exhibitions and performances he has curated and co-curated since 1987 include many established artists such as Kiki Smith, Adrian Piper, Cindy Sherman, Dieter Roth, Dennis Oppenheim, and Trisha Brown, and over the years he has championed many emerging artists, particularly those outside the mainstream. Some of his other exhibitions include Louise Bourgeois: Drawings (1996), Where There Is Where There: The Prints of John Cage (1988), and In a Different Light (1995), which Carlo McCormick in Papermag wrote "practically put a generation of queer artists at the center of the art world."

Deborah Solomon, in a 2001 New York Times article, wrote that "It is hard to say why one work of art is deemed a masterpiece while another is dismissed as a dud. The making of reputations is a mysterious process rooted in the deepest desires of humankind. Then again, sometimes it is just a matter of what Lawrence Rinder likes."

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915).

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