59th Venice Biennale Appoints Cecilia Alemani  Visual Arts Director

Cecilia Alemani has been appointed as the Director of Visual Arts for the 2021 Venice Biennale. The Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, made the decision at a meeting yesterday. She is one of only five women to be selected as Artistic Director and the first Italian woman.

As the first Italian woman to hold this position, I understand and appreciate the responsibility – CA

The task of planning and curating the upcoming 59th International Art Exhibition is always a challenge: she is a curator who has organized many exhibitions of contemporary artists, she is currently Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art, the programme of public art of the renowned urban park build on an elevated railroad in New York. She is a past curator of the Italian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2017.

On the occasion of her appointment, Cecilia Alemani said: “It is a great honour to be able to take on this role in one of the most prestigious and recognised 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 and I intend to give voice to artists to create unique projects that reflect their visions and our society.” It has confirmed Maestro Ivan Fedele as Director of the Music Department for 2020.


Cecilia Alemani (Milan, 1977) is an Italian curator based in New York.

Since 2011, she has been the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, the program of public art of the renowned urban park built on an elevated railroad in New York. 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, she 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.

In 2017, Alemani curated the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 57th International Art Exhibition. Titled Il Mondo Magico (The Magical World), the exhibition featured new large-scale, site-specific commissions by Giorgio Andreotta Calò, Adelita Husni-Bey, and Roberto Cuoghi.

In 2018 she curated, in collaboration with the city of Buenos Aires and Art Basel Cities, Hopscotch, a public art exhibition that celebrated the vibrant cultural ecosystem of the Argentine capital.

Before taking on these roles, Alemani worked as an independent curator collaborating with museums such as Tate Modern (London) and MoMA PS1 (New York), non-profit institutions such as Artists Space and Art in General (New York), and private foundations such as the Deste Foundation. From 2009 to 2010 she directed the experimental exhibition space X Initiative in New York, where she curated exhibitions by Keren Cytter, Derek Jarman, Hans Haacke, Tris Vonna-Mitchell and many others. Alemani holds a degree in Philosophy from the Università Degli Studi of Milan and a master’s degree in curatorial studies for contemporary art from Bard College, New York.

Top Photo: Cecilia Alemani

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