Today art festivals—biennials, triennials, and so forth—are so pervasive, it feels as if a major one is happening each week. But even in the late 1990s, when biennial fever had yet to peak, there was malaise. “Talk about other planets!” critic Peter Schjeldahl famously quipped in the New Yorker in 1999, referring to the biennial scene, and adding that at the 1999 Venice Biennale, the crowd “stuck out like a sore asteroid.” The space metaphor is still apt—at times, it can feel as though these biennials are colliding galaxies, with solar systems of artists and curators orbiting each other. To illustrate the many connections between these curators, ARTnews surveyed 15 major international festivals over the past 25 years. Below, a map of the curator universe.
By the Numbers:
8 Biennials and triennials Hou Hanru has organized since 1992
4 Women who have curated the Venice Biennale over the course of its 122-year history (Rosa Martinez and Maria de Corral in 2005, Bice Curiger in 2011, and Christine Macel in 2017)
20 Biennials in which Raqs Media Collective has shown work
2 Curators who have worked on both the Venice Biennale and Documenta: Harald Szeemann and Okwui Enwezor
A version of this story originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of ARTnews on page 80 under the title “Art Stars.”