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Klaus Biesenbach Appointed Director of P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center
Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art, NY, 2008. Photo: Robin Holland.

NEW YORK, NY.- Klaus Biesenbach has been appointed Director of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, it was announced today by Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art, and Agnes Gund, Chairman of the Board of P.S.1. Biesenbach, currently Chief Curator of Media and Performance Art at MoMA and Chief Curatorial Advisor at P.S.1, succeeds Founding Director Alanna Heiss, who retired in 2008 to establish Art International Radio. Biesenbach will take over as Director in January 2010. P.S.1, which was founded in Long Island City, Queens, in 1976, became affiliated with MoMA in 2000.

“Klaus is uniquely qualified to lead P.S.1, and to continue the persistent artistic conversation that began nine years ago between the two organizations,” said Mr. Lowry. “His innovative approach and depth of knowledge will allow P.S.1 to flourish with artistically distinct programs in dialogue with those at MoMA.”

“As someone who has been a member of P.S.1’s board of directors since its earliest days and who has admired P.S.1’s continued artistic vitality over the course of its history, I can think of no one better suited to carry on the legacy of experimentation and innovation for which P.S.1 has become internationally recognized,” said Ms. Gund.

“P.S.1 was founded in the 1970s to play a vital role in the artistic life of New York City,” said Mr. Biesenbach. “The art scene in New York and around the world has changed, and P.S.1 will continue to re-invent itself in close collaboration with local and international artists.”

Biesenbach joined P.S.1 as Curator in 1996; in 2004 he was appointed Curator in MoMA’s Department of Film and Media and became Chief Curatorial Advisor at P.S.1. He was named Chief Curator of MoMA’s newly formed Department of Media in 2006, which was subsequently broadened to the Department of Media and Performance Art in 2009 to reflect the Museum’s increased focus on collecting, preserving, and exhibiting performance art. As Chief Curator of the department, Biesenbach has led a range of pioneering initiatives, including the launch of a new performance art exhibition series; an ongoing series of workshops for artists and curators; important acquisitions of media and performance art; and the Museum’s presentation in 2010 of a major retrospective of the work of performance artist Marina Abramović.

In his new role, Mr. Biesenbach will also serve as a Chief Curator at Large at MoMA. In addition to the Marina Abramović exhibition, he is currently co-organizing the New York installation of the touring exhibition William Kentridge: Five Themes, opening at MoMA in February 2010, and an exhibition of the work of Francis Alÿs in 2011.

Among the recent exhibitions Biesenbach has organized at MoMA are: Performance 1: Tehching Hsieh (2009); Performance 4: Roman Ondák (2009); Pipilotti Rist: Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) (2008), Take your time: Olafur Eliasson (2008, with Roxana Marcoci, Curator, Department of Photography), Projects 87: Sigalit Landau (2008), Doug Aitken: sleepwalkers (2007, co-commissioned with Creative Time), and Douglas Gordon: Timeline (2006).

At P.S.1, he organized the exhibitions Jonathan Horowitz, and/or, and Michael Joaquin Grey, in 2009. He also co-organized Greater New York (2000 and 2005), and is currently working with a group of curators from MoMA and P.S.1 on the forthcoming Greater New York 2010 exhibition, the third iteration of the series renowned for showcasing emerging artists who are living and working in the metropolitan area, which opens in May 2010.

Among the internationally traveling exhibitions he has organized are: Fassbinder: Berlin Alexanderplatz (2007), Into Me/Out of Me (2006), Mexico City: An Exhibition About the Exchange Rate of Bodies and Values (2002), Loop (2001), and Disasters of War (2000).

He has organized or co-curated many solo and group exhibitions internationally, including 37 Rooms (Berlin, 1992); Club Berlin, Venice Biennale (1995), Nach Weimar (Weimar, 1996; Hybrid Workspace at Documenta 10 (Kassel, 1997), Shanghai Biennale (2002), and Regarding Terror: the Red Army Faction-Exhibition (Berlin and Graz, 2005).

Biesenbach founded Kunst-Werke (KW) Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin in 1991, as well as the Berlin Biennale in 1996, and remains Founding Director of both entities. Under his artistic and executive directorship, KW and the Berlin Biennale were started as self invented initiatives and are now federally and state funded institutions.

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center | Klaus Biesenbach | Glenn D. Lowry | Agnes Gund | Alanna Heiss |

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