Bruce Altshuler

Bruce Altshuler talks favourite shows and curators

The writer of our Biennials and Beyond book hosts lively debate at London Whitechapel Gallery

Bruce Altshuler hosted a lively talk on his new book, Biennials and Beyond: Exhibitions that made Art History at the Whitechapel Gallery in London last night (Thursday). Among the revelations that interested us most were his thoughts on the Paris-New York exhibition towards the end of the Seventies that didn't quite make the final edit of the book. 

Paris-New York was one of the two inaugural shows at the Pompidou, which opened in Paris in 1977, curated by Pontus Hulten: “Paris-New York” was an ambitious interdisciplinary survey that began with reconstructions of Gertrude Stein’s salon, Mondrian’s New York studio and Peggy Guggenheim’s New York gallery," Bruce told the assembled audience.

The art historian and Executive Director of Independent Curators International went on to describe Documenta 11 (curated by Okwui Enwezor) as bringing to a close the period of curatorial and biennial expansion in the art world. He also let slip that he believes that while Bennials have become an accepted part of the art world ecology discontent and critique centres around the mega art fairs such as Frieze.

After the talk, we asked Bruce which show he had most enjoyed as a visitor and he cited Skin Fruit at the New Museum New York, curated by Jeff Koons.  "Not because it is the best or most enjoyable exhibition" he has ever attended he told us, but "because all the work was drawn from one private collection and  it represented so well how the art world has come to be ruled by the art market." You can read a bit more about that show here and you can take a closer look at Bruce's book, Biennials and Beyond: Exhibitions that made Art History here.