Jan 14 2020

Cecilia Alemani Appointed Artistic Director of the 59th Venice Biennale

by Pamela Wong

CECILIA ALEMANI has been appointed the artistic director of the 59th Venice Biennale. Courtesy Art Basel.

On January 10, the board of directors of the Venice Biennale appointed Cecilia Alemani, chief curator and director of New York’s High Line Art, as the artistic director of the 59th Venice Biennale to be held in 2021. Alemani will curate the international exhibition at the main pavilion.

Born in 1977 in Milan, Alemani has led the art program at New York High Line since 2011, an urban linear park built on an elevated former railroad. In 2017, she curated Italy’s national pavilion “II Mondo Magico” (The Magical World) at the 57th Venice Biennale, referencing the 1948 novel by Ernesto de Martino. The exhibition featured large, site-specific works woven with mythical elements by Giorgio Andreotta Calo, Adelita Husni-Bey, and Roberto Cuoghi.

In her capacity at the High Line, Alemani initiated the monumental works program High Line Plinth, inaugurated in June 2019 with a large-scale sculpture of a Black woman by Simone Leigh. Alemani has also curated group shows including the ongoing outdoor painting exhibition “En Plein Air” with associate curator Melanie Kress, and performances by Maria Hassabi, Cally Spooner, and other artists. Prior to these engagements, Alemani was curator of Frieze Projects at Frieze Art Fair in New York between 2012 and 2017. She has also worked as an independent curator with institutions including London’s Tate Modern, New York’s MoMA PS1, and the private Deste Foundation in Athens.

Alemani remarked on her appointment: “As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I understand and appreciate the responsibility and also the opportunity offered to me and I intend to give voice to artists to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society.”

Pamela Wong is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor. 

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