American Curator to Direct German Art Fest | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 05.12.2008
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American Curator to Direct German Art Fest

All eyes in the art world have turned to Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev following the recent announcement that the Italy-based American will be artistic director of Kassel’s documenta exhibition in 2012.

Carolyn Christov Bakargiev

Carolyn Christov Bakargiev will be documenta 13's American curator

"She is remorseless and encourages a high standard and brings out the best in artists," said Kasper König, spokesperson for the finding committee that nominated Christov-Bakargiev for one of the most prestigious art jobs in Germany.

A renowned art fest, the documenta is held every five years in the northern state of Hessen. The exhibition's 13th installation will begin in June 2012, and while Christov-Bakargiev calls the appointment "a blessing and a challenge," it is only the latest in a series of major art projects for the New Jersey native.

Based in Rome, Turin and New York, Christov-Bakargiev is currently the Chief Curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin, and after wrapping up the 16th Sydney Biennale in Australia, she told Deutsche Welle that she is excited to tackle the documenta 13 running from June 9th to September 16th, 2012 in Kassel.

Free rein for documenta

"The artistic direction of documenta is a wonderful opportunity where you are given the possibility of realizing your vision in whatever way you see fit," she explains. "And it is a very big responsibility because it is the most historically renowned of the contemporary international art exhibitions."

Visitors stand in front of Austrian artist Peter Friedl's stuffed giraffe art piece 'The Zoo Life' after the opening ceremony at the 'documenta 12' in Kassel, Saturday, June 16, 2007

documenta curators have free rein at the exhibition

And while Hessen State Minister Silke Lautenschlaeger believes Christov-Bakargiev "will give the documenta bright new impulses," the 51-year old curator never loses sight of one particular perspective when it comes to her field. "I strongly believe that the members of the audience, the visitors, are the center of the art experience," she says.

Christov-Bakargiev, who graduated from the University of Pisa, Faculty of Leggers and Philosophy, is also a writer and has published a book exclusively on the Arte Povera movement.

When asked if her extroverted style, visible in her fiery red hair and matching glasses, will be noticeable in the exhibition, the wife and mother of two says, "I can't hide my personality, that's for sure."

Christov-Bakargiev intends to return to Kassel in January and spend a lot of time in Hessen as she prepares the documenta.

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