Curator Cecilia Alemani selected as artistic director for the 58th Venice Biennale

Curator Cecilia Alemani selected as artistic director for the 58th Venice Biennale
View of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice from the water. Courtesy Flickr Commons.
Leading lights  -   Curators

The 58th edition of the Venice Biennale wrapped up only weeks ago, but planning is already underway for the next biennale set for 2021. Kicking off new announcements for the 59th International Art Exhibition, is the announcement of Cecilia Alemani as curator of the biannual event. Her appointment makes her just the fifth women to have held the prestigious position during the biennale’s 125-year history.

Born in Milan, Alemani is now based in New York where she has been the director and chief curator of High Line Art, a public urban space built along repurposed elevated railroads through New York City, since 2011. Her tenure with the High Line has seen the development of the High Line Plinth, which makes space for a rotating body of large-scale public artworks. Currently, Simone Leigh’s Brick House stands tall overlooking passer-byers on the High Line. Her accolades don’t stop there, either. In 2018, Alemani worked collaboratively with Buenos Aires and Art Basel Cities to create a public art exhibition in celebration of the vibrant cultural life of the city titled Rayuela / Hopscotch. Just the year prior to that venture, she was at the 57th Venice Biennale where she curated the Italian Pavilion, which boasted site-specific works by Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Adelita Husni-Bey, and Roberto Cuoghi in ‘Il Mondo Magico (The Magical World).’ Her resume also includes having served as curator of Frieze Projects at New York’s Frieze Art Fair between 2012 and 2017.

In addition to those key moments, Alemani has worked as a curator alongside a number of international institutions including New York’s MoMA PS1 and Artists Space and Art in General as well as London’s Tate Modern. She has also worked with major artists such as Keren Cytter and Hans Haacke. ‘I am sure, said Paolo Baratta, chair of the board of directors for the biennale, to Ag Cult, ‘that her new project will be equally courageous and innovative.’

In a statement, Alemani said: ‘It is a great honor to be able to take on this role in one of the most prestigious and recognized Italian institutions in the world. 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.’

Not set to start for nearly 16 months, Alemani will begin preparations for the extensive exhibition that attracts thousands of visitors to see the works of hundreds of artists from around the world. Alemani follows Ralph Rugoff who curated ‘May You Live In Interesting Times,’ the 2019 biennale exhibition. The 17th international Biennale Architettura is set to begin in May, later this year.