in other words

#64: Massimiliano Gioni Wants to Do Away with Quality

By Charlotte Burns
Guest Massimiliano Gioni. Photo by Matthew Magelof

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“I realized that more interesting things happen when I could do away with notions of quality and taste,” says Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director of the New Museum in New York and director of the Trussardi Foundation in Milan.

Gioni—who The New York Times called a “biennale veteran” by the time he was 38—says this thinking freed him up to stage exhibitions that moved away from treating art like “the isolated masterpiece”. He talks to host Charlotte Burns about the collapse of the alternative art, music and publishing scenes in the 1990s and about the potential social mobility within the art world.

Massimiliano’s latest show, “Appearance Stripped Bare: Desire and the Object in the Work of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons, Even”, is on view until 29 September at the Museo Jumex in Mexico City.

For more, tune in today.


Massimiliano Gioni

Edlis Neeson Artistic Director of the New Museum and the director of the Trussardi Foundation in Milan

Massimiliano Gioni is the Edlis Neeson Artistic Director of the New Museum and the director of the Trussardi Foundation in Milan.

He has curated numerous international exhibitions and biennials including the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010), the 4th Berlin Biennale (co-curated with Maurizio Cattelan and Ali Subotnick in 2006) and Manifesta 5 (co-curated with Marta Kuzma in 2004).

At the New Museum Massimiliano Gioni has curated solo exhibitions by John Akomfrah, Pawel Althamer, Thomas Bayrle, Lynda Benglis, Paul Chan, Sarah Charlesworth, Roberto Cuoghi, Tacita Dean, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Nari Ward, among others. Gioni’s group shows – which include “After Nature”, “Ghosts in the Machine”, “Here and Elsewhere”, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” “Ostalgia”, “The Keeper” and the inaugural New Museum Triennial – have become signature initiatives of the New Museum program.

At Museo Jumex he is curating “Appearance Stripped Bare: Desire and the Object in the Work of Marcel Duchamp and Jeff Koons, Even” which will open in May 2019.

Since 2003 Gioni has been directing the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan, where he has curated solo shows and public art projects by, among others, Allora and Calzadilla, Paweł Althamer, Darren Almond, John Bock, Maurizio Cattelan, and Elmgreen and Dragset, among others. With the Trussardi Foundation, in 2015, on the occasion of Expo Milan, he curated “The Great Mother” at Palazzo Reale and in 2017 he has organized “The Restless Earth” at La Triennale.

Gioni has contributed to many publications and magazines including Artforum, Flash Art (for which he served as US editor from 1999 to 2003), Frieze, Parkett, Tate Etc., among others. He co-founded the “Wrong Gallery” with Maurizio Cattelan and Ali Subotnick, with whom he has directed the independent art magazines “The Wrong Times” and “Charley”. He is the commissioning editor of “2000 Words,” a series of monographic books published by the Deste Foundation, with which he has frequently collaborated, co-curating numerous exhibitions in Athens.

He has served as a juror for the following prizes and awards: Absolut Art Award, BMW Art Journey, Hugo Boss Prize, Mario Merz Prize, Edvard Munch Art Award, Pinchuk Art Prize, Preis der Nationalgalerie-Hamburger Banhof, Kurt Schwitters Prize, Vilcek Prize.

Charlotte Burns

executive editor of In Other Words

Charlotte Burns is the editor of In Other Words, our weekly newsletters and podcasts. She was previously the US news and market editor for The Art Newspaper, as well as a regular correspondent for publications such as the Guardian and Monocle. Previously, she worked with the London dealer Anthony d’Offay on special projects. For several years, she was a consultant at the cultural communications agency, Bolton & Quinn. She also worked at Hauser & Wirth in London.

Burns received a Masters degree (with Merit) from the Courtauld Institute in Art and Cultural Politics in Germany, 1890-1945, as well as a first-class B.A. honors degree in English and History of Art from Birmingham University. She moved to New York in 2010.

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