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Spotlight: French Art Curators

Pictures at an Exhibition, 2018 John Mcsweeney

Art curators deal with the organizational aspects of an art exhibition. They are responsible for defining the content of the event, choosing the works to be exhibited and the location.

But that’s not all. Those who choose to undertake this profession must know that the commitments do not end in the logistical sphere. In fact, it is important not only to be rigorous and responsible but also to be a skilled communicator: forging relationships and cultivating them is one of the factors that contribute to the success of an art curator.  

Last but not least, it is necessary to be extremely up to date on the world of art, one must be able to immerse oneself completely in this universe: reading books, leafing through catalogues, looking for new talents, a true art curator never rests on their accumulated knowledge or achievements.
We will now meet five French art curators – and four of whom are women.

Caroline Bourgeois

Caroline Bourgeois is a multifaceted French woman: art curator, of course, but also gallery owner and art advisor. If you are familiar with the Francois Pinault collection at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, well, behind this fascinating collection of modern and contemporary art is Madame Bourgeois. 

Cécile Debray-Amar

Do we have women in top positions in the art world? Of course we do. An example of this is Cécile Debray-Amar who, with a super résumé behind her (art historian, author, teacher, museum director) came to the position of chief curator of the modern collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. An important role that also goes hand in hand with that of director of the Orangerie Museum, also in the French capital.  

Theodore Bajard

It’s time to quote for par condicio a male curator: Theodore Bajard. We interviewed him just a few weeks ago and found out a lot about his past and present in the art world. After curating an exhibition in Miami and meeting contemporary artists such as Chloe Wise in New York, Theodore decided, with his partner Santiago Rumney-Guggenheim, to dedicate himself to more innovative exhibitions. From an elevated car park in Mexico City to one of the most prestigious buildings at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, Theodore and Santiago have tried to shake up the art world with a breath of fresh air. And that’s just the beginning.

Christine Macel

Christine Macel is a name you should familiarize yourself with if you are a true art lover. Besides being the chief curator of the contemporary collections at the Centre Pompidou in Paris – she has curated shows for Sophie Calle, Gabriel Orozco, Nan Goldin, and Philippe Parreno – she was one of the few women, the fourth to be exact, selected as the director of the international pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017. 

Judith Benhamou-Huet

Judith Benhamou-Huet is a French journalist, independent curator and author, with a weekly column on both Les Echos and Le Point. She has also created a popular blog “Judith Benhamou-Huet Reports” where she publishes her thoughts and reflections – it is not to be missed!

Featured Image: Pictures at an Exhibition, 2018, John Mcsweeney

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