in other words

Everything you ever wanted to know about the art market but didn't know who to ask

#42 Large-scale curating, with Cecilia Alemani and Ingrid Schaffner


Left: Cecilia Alemani. Right: Ingrid Schaffner. Photo credit: Matthew Magelof

Art Agency, Partners
Art Agency, Partners
#42 Large-scale curating, with Cecilia Alemani and Ingrid Schaffner

BY Charlotte Burns
executive editor of In Other Words

How do curators discover or decide to commission art? Joining our host Charlotte Burns for a conversation about the future of biennials, triennials and other group shows are Cecilia Alemani (director and chief curator of High Line Art and the artistic director of Art Basel Cities) and Ingrid Schaffner (curator of the 57th Carnegie International, which recently opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). They talk about how they view the role of the curator, and about getting off the beaten track. They discuss topics including the intersection of politics and art, and reveal the best art they’ve recently seen.

For this and more, tune in today.

Click here for the full transcript

Charlotte Burns: Hello, and welcome to In Other Words, where we cover everything you ever wanted to know about the art world but didn’t know who to ask. I’m your host, Charlotte Burns, and on today’s show we’re discussing the future of biennials, triennials and other of these kinds of group shows. I’m joined by two well-known curators, Cecilia Alemani, who is the director and chief curator of High Line Art here in New York City, and the artistic director of Art Basel Cities.

Alemani quote from the interview: “That kind of created a map of the city and the scene that was not necessarily the map that you would find in an art book.”

And, I’m joined by Ingrid Schaffner, the curator of the 57th Carnegie International, which opened in October in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Schaffner quote from the interview: “I wanted to create an experience for the visitors to be lost in the museum. Lost and with art.”


Cecilia Alemani

curator and director, High Line Art

Cecilia Alemani is the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. director and chief curator of High Line Art, the public art program presented by the non-profit organization Friends of the High Line in New York City. She was also the artistic director of Art Basel Cities 2018 in Buenos Aires and curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Since 2012, she has commissioned and curated public art projects on the High Line by over two hundred artists. For the Italian Pavilion, she organized the exhibition “Il mondo magico”, featuring new commissions by Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Roberto Cuoghi and Adelita Husni- Bey.

Throughout her career, Alemani has collaborated with many museums, institutions, and foundations such as MoMA/PS1, New York; Tate Modern, London; and the Deste Foundation, Athens, and has also pursued more unconventional projects with non-profits and informal organizations. Alemani worked as guest curator for the performance art biennial Performa 11. She is the co-founder of No Soul For Sale, a festival of independent spaces, non-profit organizations, and artist collectives which took place at X Initiative in June 2009. From January 2009 to February 2010, she served as Curatorial Director of X Initiative, New York, a year-long experimental non-profit space in Chelsea. 

Ingrid Schaffner

curator, 57th Carnegie International

Ingrid Schaffner is an American curator, art critic, writer, and educator, specializing in contemporary art. She was the curator of the 57th Carnegie International (Ci18), which opened at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, on 20 October 2018.

Known for the breadth of her art historical knowledge and her exceptional collaborations with artists such as Richard Artschwager, Barry LeVa, Karen Kilimnik, Maira Kalman, and Anne Tyng, Schaffner’s work often coalesces around themes of archiving and collecting, photography, feminism, and alternate modernisms—especially Surrealism. Her many significant monographic and thematic exhibitions have brought attention to under-recognized artists and little-explored themes and practices in the art world. From 2000 to 2015, Schaffner directed the exhibition program at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the leading museums dedicated to exhibiting the innovative art of our time.

Charlotte Burns

executive editor of In Other Words

Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.

Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.

For more on Cecilia Alemani

“‘Activating Public Space’: A High Line Art Walk with Curator Cecilia Alemani” by Andy Battaglia in Artnews(20 July 2018)

Art Basel Cities Director Cecilia Alemani Reveals the City-Spanning Highlights From the Inaugural Edition in Buenos Aires” by Sarah Cascone in artnet News (22 August 2018)

For more on Ingrid Schaffner

Essays by Schaffner

The 57th Edition of the Carnegie International (until 25 March)

Why It Took Nearly Three Years to Curate the (Short) Artist List for the 2018 Carnegie International” by Sarah Cascone in artnet News (11 April 2018)

The live record

Behind the scenes with Ingrid Schaffner and Cecilia Alemani

15 Images

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