Cultured Magazine

Winter 2014

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The selfies of Klaus Biesenbach have become so legendary that The New York Observer recently called him "the selfie prince of the art scene." Those pictures—featuring Marina Abramovic, Lana Del Rey, James Franco and Jeff Koons—are more than just whimsical digitalia, they're a testament to the 57-year-old German- born curator's ability to stay on the cusp of technology and art trends. Biesenbach has integrated this art-forward view into the programming at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, New York, where he has been director since 2010. Biesenbach, as outspoken as he is talented, first rose to prominence as a founding director of KW (Kunste-Werke) Institute for Contemporary Art in 1991 and the Berlin Biennale in 1996. In Berlin, he helped organize an incredible list of shows from then-budding world-class artists like Matthew Barney, Taryn Simon and Jonathan Meese. This caught the attention of the execs at the Museum of Modern Art, who snatched him up to serve as their curator. Biesenbach currently serves as the chief curator at large at MoMA in addition to his directorship at MoMA PS1. Under Biesenbach, PS1 has taken hold as a leader in new media. In collaboration with its founder, Alanna Heiss, Biesenbach helped initiate "Warm Up," the annual summer concert series. He also spearheads a survey of emerging New York artists called "Greater New York" every five years (the fourth iteration will take place in 2015) and continues to build PS1's reputation as the coolest museum in New York through exhibitions like "Zero Tolerance," on view through March 8, which features artists who deal with "tensions between freedom and control" such as Yoko Ono, Pussy Riot and Song Dong. An offshoot of this exhibition, "Zero Tolerance: Miami," will take place during Art Basel (see "Cultured 25"). With 150,000 visitors a year coming through the doors of MoMA PS1, Biesenbach remains an influential voice in the New York art scene. Not to mention, he can snap a selfie with the best of them. —MW CULTURED 199 PHOTO BY MARK ABRAHAMS / TRUNK ARCHIVE Klaus Biesenbach KURATOR ▲

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