Home Magazine Cecilia Alemani is the first Italian woman to direct the Venice Art Biennale

Cecilia Alemani has long been considered one of the most influential women in the contemporary art sector, now she is the first Italian woman Director for the Visual Art Sector of the 2021 Venice Art Biennale.

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The curator had already the opportunity to get noticed with the beautiful Italian Pavilion entitled "The Magic World" during the Biennale "Viva Arte Viva" (2017) curated by Christine Macel in which she chose to present the works of three artists: Roberto Cuoghi, Giorgio Andreotta Calò and Adelita Husni-Bey. Cultural Minister Dario Franceschini enthusiastically accepted this appointment, confident that Alemani's project will be courageous and innovative. In fact, he says, "the ability of the Biennale's vision continues in the work of relaunching one of the most important Italian cultural institutions, increasing its already considerable international prestige consolidated through careful and enlightened management".


Roberto Cuoghi, Imitazione di Cristo (Imitation of Christ), 2017, Installation view, Il mondo magico, 57th Venice Biennale Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong.  


Read more about the last edition of the Venice Art Biennale: All about the 58th Venice Biennal-Milovan Farronato: the new curator of the Italian Pavillion-Venice 2019 | Prada Vs Pinault-The 10 “to go” at the Venice Biennale!

Cecilia Alemani declares: "It is a great honour to have this role in one of the most prestigious and recognized Italian institutions in the world... As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I understand and appreciate the responsibility and also the opportunity offered to me. I plan to give voice to artists and platform to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society."

American by adoption, Alemani was born in Milan in 1977 and since 2003 she lives in New York she is the director and chief curator of High Line Art: a public art project for the New York park born on the old elevated railway structure that runs alongside the river Hudson and the neighbourhoods of Meatpack and Chelsea. In addition to commissioning and producing ambitious projects with some of today's most influential artists, including El Anatsui, John Baldessari, Phyllida Barlow, Carol Bove, Sheila Hicks, Rashid Johnson, Barbara Kruger, Zoe Leonard, Faith Ringgold, Ed Ruscha, Nari Ward and Adrián Villar Rojas, Alemani also launched the High Line Plinth, a new program of monumental works inaugurated in June 2019 with Brick House, a sculpture by the artist Simone Leigh. Her brilliant career includes different collaborations with museums as the Tate Modern in London and MoMA PS1 in New York; non-profit institutions such as Artists Space and Art in General (New York); private foundations such the Deste Foundation. 


Dorothy Iannone, I Lift My Lamp Beside the Golden Door, 2014/2018. A High Line Commission. On view March 2018 – Fall 2019. Photo by Timothy Schenck


But her presence was also relevant for important international art fairs. In particular, Alemani dealing was responsible for the curated sections, such as at the Frieze Projects in New York and in 2018 the Art Basel Cities project in Buenos Aires entitled Hopscotch ( The game of the world). From 2009 to 2010 she directed the experimental space X Initiative in New York, where she organized exhibitions of Keren Cytter, Hans Haacke, Derek Jarman, Tris Vonna-Michell and many others. Alemani holds a degree in Philosophy from the University Statale in Milan, she also had a master's degree in curatorial studies for contemporary art at Bard College in New York. The curator now resides in the United States with her husband Massimiliano Gioni - currently director of the New Museum and curator of the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Cover image: Cecilia Alemani. Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia.

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