Gwangju Biennale Taps Six Women to Direct 2012 Edition

Clockwise from top left: Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Sunjung Kim, Mami Kataoka, Nancy Adajania, Carol Yinghua Lu and Alia Swastika. Photo courtesy e-flux.

The Gwangju Biennale Foundation announced today that a six-person team, comprised of young female curators from Asia and the Middle East, will direct the 9th edition of its closely watched exhibition, which will open in the South Korean city in 2012.

The decision marks a major shift from last year’s biennale, which had but one curator, New Museum associate director Massimiliano Gioni. His exhibition, called “10,000 Lives,” earned predominantly favorable reviews from the international art press. (Mr. Gioni is in the news again right now, thanks to his current museum-filling show at the New Museum, “Ostalgia.”)

The women in charge in 2012 are as follows:

• Sunjung Kim, an independent curator from Seoul, who served as commissioner of South Korea’s pavilion at the 2005 Venice Biennale;

• Mami Kataoka, the chief curator of the Mori Art Museum, in Tokyo, Japan, since 2003, and an international curator at London’s Hayward Gallery from 2007 to 2009;

• Carol Yinghua Lu, a writer and curator who is a contributing editor for the British art monthly Frieze;

• Nancy Adajania, a writer and curator who has served as editor-in-chief of Art India magazine.

• Wassan Al-Khudhairi, the director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, in Doha, Qatar, who has worked at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York; and

• Alia Swasticka, a Jakarta-based curator who will curate the Jogja Biennale XI in November.

“The Gwangju Biennale Foundation has not selected Asian female curators in order to display the political, cultural, or geopolitical hegemony of Asia,” the group emphasized in a statement, a bit defensively. “Instead, through their appointment, we seek to build a platform that can embrace layers of diverse and engaging discussions in visual culture.”

Gwangju Biennale Taps Six Women to Direct 2012 Edition