Harald Szeemann in context

An international conference curated by Stefano Chiodi, Salvatore Lacagnina and Henri de Riedmatten

Monday 14 and Tuesday 15 November 2011
Fondazione Querini Stampalia (Auditorium G. Piamonte) - Campo Santa Maria Formosa - Venice

Click here for the complete program.

Ten years after the last edition of the Venice Biennale directed by Harald Szeemann, the anniversary that coincides with the nomination of a new Swiss curator at the helm of the oldest international kermesse of contemporary art, the Istituto Svizzero di Roma has organized an international conference, divided into two days and 4 sessions, that analyzes the personal and cultural experience of Szeemann, the new figure of curator that through him was validated in the international field between the Sixties and Seventies and its evolution within the contemporary art system.

Through the contribution of 10 international scholars and critics, “Harald Szeemann in context” critically reflects upon the dual nature of the profession of “independent curator” and a professional linked to institutions, two activities that in Szeemann have always run in parallel – as the intervention of Tobias Bezzola demonstrates, focusing on the years at the Kunsthaus Zurich (where Szeemann had been nominated independent curator in 1981) –  but it does not leave out the theme of the legacy that the activity of Szeemann represents for the new generation of curators, a topic examined by Philip Ursprung, Beat Wyss and Bice Curiger within their respective contributions.

A second part of the conference represents the results of the research by young scholars, carried out in Szeemann’s archives, directly on documents and original sources (Mariana Roquette Teixeira, Pietro Rigolo and Lara Conte) following a historical-artistic methodology, necessary to portray Szeemann beyond the myth.

With regard to the recent acquisition of Szeemann’s archives by the Getty Research Institute, Glenn Plillips describes the context of the Getty Center and the process that precedes the access to the archive.

The conference closes with a look at the current situation and the directions that the curatorial practices have taken more recently (Mary Anne Staniszewski, Michele Dantini).

At the Venice branch of the ISR, a selection of documentaries on Szeemann with interviews with artists and the curator, from the best known When Attitudes Become Form to the exhibitions from 2000 onwards, will precede and conclude the study days dedicated to the greatest exhibition maker.