Basualdo, Carlos, Artforum International
"A biennial should be a profoundly political and spiritual event. It contemplates the present with a desire to transform it." This is the ideal Rosa Martinez brings to her role as curator of SITE Santa Fe's Third International Biennial Exhibition. A seasoned member of the new generation of globally aware, often peripatetic international curators, Martinez is passionate about her own role in producing such an exhibit: "I want to create events that translate the emotions and thoughts of a very precise moment in relation to a very specific place."
Initially a student of literature and language (she considered pursuing an advanced degree in philology), Martinez eventually found her way to art history, a field that unexpectedly brought together, and even reanimated, her interests. In 1977, she was appointed head of the arts education programs at Fundacio "la Caixa," in Barcelona. (Spain's main savings bank, "la Caixa" spends half its annual profit - a not insignificant $150 million this year - on social and cultural activities.) Martinez held the position for more than a decade, but it wasn't until she accepted a new appointment as chief curator of the Bienal de Barcelona, a show of emerging artists from the Mediterranean region, that her curatorial career began. In 1992, it was back to "la Caixa," where she assumed a new position - this time as a curator in charge of the Sala Montcada, an experimental space devoted to the work of young artists.
Martinez made her international curatorial debut as a member of the team responsible for the first edition of Manifesta, the European biennial focused on the work of emerging artists. It was her role in that seminal exhibition that led, a year later, to her appointment as artistic director of the Fifth International Istanbul Biennial, a massive undertaking that cemented her reputation. This summer, as the curator of SITE Santa Fe's third biennial, Martinez will present the work of twenty-eight artists, from veteran sculptor Louise Bourgeois to emerging Cuban performance and installation artist Tania Bruguera, from Greenpeace, an organization whose efforts are not customarily associated with contemporary art, to kunsthalle staple Pipilotti Rist. Entitled "Looking for a Place," the exhibition is scheduled to open on July 10 and will be on view until the end of the year. - CB
CARLOS BASUALDO: Having been involved as a curator or as an artistic director at three different biennials, do you think there are criteria for what makes a "biennial," …
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Publication information: Article title: Launching Site. Contributors: Basualdo, Carlos - Author. Magazine title: Artforum International. Volume: 37. Issue: 10 Publication date: Summer 1999. Page number: 39+. © 1999 Artforum International Magazine, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1999 Gale Group.
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