Saturday, March 09, 2013

There are two types of reaction to hearing that Hans Ulrich Obrist (pictured right) and Klaus Biesenbach (pictured left) are the co-curators of ‘13 Rooms’.

Either the dropped-jaw response given by the kind of people who spend a lot of time thinking about and following the careers of curators or somewhat more of an ambivalent one from those who don't – so you shouldn’t feel weird if you are less deeply moved by the news. Let’s face it, unless you work in the arts, or are an absolute art nerd you probably have no idea who we’re going on about.  


To those of you in the latter camp, we would like to say, "Here are the Co-curators of ‘13 Rooms’ and this is why we are so utterly excited to have the opportunity to bring their project to Sydney.”…  


Klaus Biesenbach is Chief Curator at Large (yep, the big boss) at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. In 2006 he became the head of its newly-formed Department of Media and was instrumental in expanding it into the Department of Media and Performance Art in 2009. He curated the museum's landmark show ‘The Artist is Present’, a retrospective of the career of '13 Rooms' artist Marina Abramovic, (who is pretty much like the grandmother of Performance art) which received record numbers of visitors for the Museum. Biesenbach is also the incumbent Director of MoMA PS1. Also the Founding Director of both the Kunst-Werke Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin and the Berlin Biennale. It’s pretty safe to say he’s responsible for some of the world’s incredible art exhibitions and institutions.  


Hans Ulrich Obrist (the other half of the ‘13 Rooms’ vision) is Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London. He’s known for its regular inspirational outdoor pavilion projects collaborating with world-famous artists and architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Ai Weiwei with Herzog & de Meuron and incredible marathon discussions featuring everyone from famous musicians to neuro-scientists and robotic engineers – on top of numerous significant exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Obrist also co-curated the first Manifesta (a respected biennial art festival that takes places in a different European city each time) in 1996. Obrist is famous for completing thousands of interviews which form his ‘The Interview Project’ , which are a series of conversations with important thinkers and cultural figures across all kinds of disciplines. The Interview Project has resulted in the publication of 26 books and innumerable articles and is continuously growing.  


Obviously, Obrist and Biesenbach both have immense experience and are voracious and pioneering curators of both art and culture in general. They are established as art world innovators at the very highest level – in short – they are both major players in their own rights. So by their powers combined, they are nothing short of completely incredible.  


For more of the power duo’s adventures, and first-hand insights into the international art world, you can follow them both on Twitter:



Kaldor Public Art Project 27: 13 Rooms from Kaldor Public Art Projects on Vimeo.


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