From the retirement of Harvard Art Museums’ director to the appointment of two head curators for the upcoming edition of the Helsinki Biennial, here are some of the most notable changes recently announced across the arts and culture sphere.
Former Art Basel head Marc Spiegler is joining Superblue’s board of directors
Superblue, an immersive arts company that uses technology to create multi-sensory experiences, today (September 15) announced that Marc Spiegler, the former director of Art Basel, will be joining its board of directors. Spiegel stepped down from Art Basel in October 2022 and was succeeded by Noah Horowitz. In his new position, he will bring more than 15 years of experience from the art fair, where he staged more than 43 shows and helped launch new editions in Hong Kong and Paris.
“Superblue’s groundbreaking model generates new opportunities for artists to extend their practice and expands the audience for contemporary art—two things that have always been super important to me,” said Spiegel in a statement, adding that he is excited to join Superblue as it “expands to cities around the globe, adding new dimensions to their art ecosystems.”
While the arts company launched in 2021 in Miami, it plans to enter a “new phase of development” which will see centers opening across cities in the U.S. and internationally, and an increased number of artist and gallery partnerships, according to Superblue’s co-founder Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst. In addition to announcing Spiegler as a board member, the arts organization revealed that Dent-Brocklehurst will become the organization’s chief creative officer, in charge of commissions, installations and programming. Meanwhile, Daniel Dolan, the former CEO of Tropicana Capital Management, has been appointed Superblue’s chief executive and will oversee its company operations, finance and growth.
Martha Tedeschi steps down as director of the Harvard Art Museums
After heading the Harvard Art Museums for seven years, Martha Tedeschi revealed earlier this week that she will retire as director by the end of the year. Appointed in 2016, Tedeschi oversaw the organization’s three museums and four research centers during the Covid-19 pandemic, introducing virtual programming and helping digitize its collections. “Under Martha’s leadership, the Harvard Art Museums have experienced remarkable growth and transformative change, and I am deeply grateful for all that Martha has contributed to the museums and to Harvard in her time as director,” said Alan Garber, Harvard University Provost, in a statement.
During her tenure, Tedeschi also secured accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums, a nonprofit representing 35,000 museums and museum professionals. But her most notable achievement consisted of increasing access to the Harvard Art Museums. In September of 2021, the institutions began offering free admission on Sundays, an initiative that expanded to include the last Thursday of every month in April of 2022. But in June of this year, the museums announced that a new free admission policy for all visitors would be effective immediately. Supported by a contribution from the estate of David Rockefeller, the policy will remain in place permanently. Her efforts “have attracted a wide range of visitors to the museums,” both new and returning, according to Garber.
Before leading the Harvard Art Museums, Tedeschi was formerly deputy director for art and research at the Art Institute of Chicago, which she joined in 1982. A specialist in British and American art, she was also the president of the Print Council of America and served on the board for the Association of Art Museum Curators.
Helsinki Biennial 2025 names Blanca de la Torre and Kati Kivinen as head curators
In Finland, the Helsinki Biennial has appointed two new curators to oversee its upcoming edition in summer of 2025, as announced yesterday (September 14). Both Blanca de la Torre and Kati Kivinen will prepare the fair’s programming for its third edition. Launched in 2021, the contemporary art show presents works not only in the Finnish capital of Helsinki but also in a main exhibition on the uninhabited Vallisaari Island, located a 20-minute ferry ride away.
The international event focuses on environmentally centered programming, engaging with climate issues through numerous immersive and outdoor installations. “Our shared curatorial practice includes creating sustainability guidelines that steer exhibition-making from start to finish,” said de la Torre and Kivinen in a joint statement. “We both find it exciting to work in the context of Helsinki—a city that has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”
De la Torre is a Spanish curator who is interested in environmental art practices like ecofeminism and sustainability. In her previous positions, which have included chief curator of the Cuenca Biennial in Ecuador and chief curator of the Museum-Center for Contemporary Art of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, she implemented sustainability guidelines that reduced the ecological footprints of institutions. Her global experience will help broaden the biennial’s “geographical perspective,” according to the arts event.
Kivinen, meanwhile, is a Helsinki-based art historian and curator who currently oversees exhibitions at the Helsinki Art Museum. With a focus on spatial and sensorial issues in her curation, she was formerly the chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki. She has helped organize exhibitions like the 2019 Coexistence—Human, Animal and Nature in Kiasma’s Collections and the 2020 Fragile Times, shown at Berlin’s Galerie im Kornerpark.