Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Artistic Director of dOCUMENTA (13), is a curator and writer based in Rome, Kassel, and New York. After organizing exhibitions as an independent curator in different countries, from 1999 to 2001 she was senior curator of exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMA Affiliate. She was the chief curator at the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin from 2002 to 2008 (and interim director of the museum in 2009). She was the co-curator of the first Turin Triennial in 2005 and artistic director for the 16th Biennale of Sydney in 2008.
As a writer, she has been interested in the relations between historical avant-gardes and contemporary art and has written extensively on the Arte Povera movement, such as in her book Arte Povera (London: Phaidon, 1999). She published the first monograph on the work of South African artist William Kentridge (Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Serpentine Gallery, London; MACBA–Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 1998–99), and the first monograph on Canadian artist Janet Cardiff, including works done in collaboration with George Bures Miller (P.S.1, New York, 2001).
As an independent curator, she co-curated Il suono rapido delle cose, a homage to artist and composer John Cage for the Venice Biennale in 1993. For Antwerp ’93: European Capital of Culture, she co-curated the international survey exhibition On taking a normal situation and retranslating it into overlapping and multiple readings of conditions past and present at MuKHA– Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen. In 1996, she curated the first largescale survey on Italian postwar artist Alberto Burri (Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels; Lenbachhaus, Munich). In 1997, she organized Città-Natura, a city-wide exhibition of international artists in various locations of Rome, including the zoology museum and the botanical gardens. She then co-curated La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire at Villa Medici in Rome (1998–2000), a three-year project that included new artworks by more than 100 artists.
As senior curator at P.S.1, she initiated and co-curated the first edition of Greater New York in 2000, a collaboration with MoMA, that marked a generation of new art. She then curated a historical exhibition on international art in the 1980s, Around 1984: A Look at Art in the Eighties (2000), and solo exhibitions of artists including Georges Adéagbo and Carla Accardi.