After «Cold Sun», Palais de Tokyo, along with thirty galleries and art spaces throughout Paris, innovates once more to emphasize the emergence of the figure of the curator. At Palais de Tokyo, “Nouvelles vagues” (New Waves) is a large-scale event organized by 21 international young curators (hailing from 13 different countries), working individually or in groups, and selected by a jury from over 500 candidates.
«Nouvelles vagues» will transform the entirety of Palais de Tokyo’s exhibition space and spread out throughout the city, putting on display the artists, ideas and situations endorsed by these visionary young professionals.
Owing to the efforts of the Comité professionnel des galeries d’art [professional committee of art galleries], this event will be completed through the involvement of some thirty Parisian galleries. In partnership with Palais de Tokyo, these institutions will each invite a young curator to conceive an exhibition within their walls. Together, these fifty proposals will mark an unprecedented moment in Paris’ artistic life and present a fresh perspective on today’s artistic practices.
This event is a unique opportunity to emphasize the emergence of this new definition of the curator, a position that has flourished alongside the artist for the past decades. This essential figure, who organizes exhibitions across the globe, is neither an art dealer nor an institutional curator. He or she does not belong to the academic establishment nor feels subjected to the rules of the art market. Instead, here is a free spirit, a maverick looking for new directions, a nomad who knows no boundaries and is always searching for original poetic, aesthetic and political adventures. Working alone or as part of a group, the curator creates original, temporary environments in which artists from different backgrounds come together around shared goals, ideas and visions. No longer the mouthpiece of a period or a movement, no longer the theorist of a new chapter of art history, they thrive on the challenge of working side by side with the artists.
From Félix Fénéon to Clement Greenberg, the 20th century has celebrated the art critic, best epitomised in France by Pierre Restany. During the 1970s and ’80s, the figure of the ultimate “exhibition maker,” such as Harald Szeemann, Germano Celant or Jean-Hubert Martin, emerged, opening up a path for a different way of curating. Younger figures such as Hans Ulrich Obrist or Klaus Biensebach preferred to align themselves with the original meaning of the word “curator”, from the Latin, curare, “to take care of”, “to attend to”.
Borne on a new wave of ingenuity, independence and risk-taking, this new type of curator has blossomed on the art scene.
“Nouvelles vagues” testifies to this new artistic ecosystem.
The jury is composed of Hans Ulrich Obrist (Co-director of the Serpentine Gallery, London), Massimiliano Gioni (Associate Director and Curator, New Museum, New York), Jens Hoffmann (Deputy Director, Jewish Museum, New York), Jean-Hubert Martin (independent curator), Xavier Franceschi (Director, Frac Ile-de-France), Colette Barbier (Director, Fondation d’entreprise Ricard, Paris), Fabienne Leclerc (Professional Committee of Art Galleries), Alain Reinaudo (Institut Français), Jean de Loisy (President of Palais de Tokyo) and curators of the Palais de Tokyo.