David Elliott (curator)

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David Stuart Elliott (born 29 April 1949) is a British-born art gallery and museum curator and writer about modern and contemporary art.[1]


He was educated at Loughborough Grammar School. After studying Modern History at the University of Durham, and History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art Elliott worked as an exhibitions officer at the Arts Council of Great Britain, after which he served as director of the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford from 1976 to 1996. Elliott's programme at Oxford included exhibitions of art from Latin America, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Working experience[edit]

Elliott was then Director of the Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) in Stockholm from 1996 to 2001.

From 1998 to 2004, he was President of CIMAM [the International Committee of ICOM for Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art].

In the 1995, he co-curated for the Hayward Gallery, London a large travelling exhibition 'Art and Power" exploring the relationship of art with the totalitarian regimes in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. His catalogue essays for this were gathered together and republished in 'History Today'.

Between 2001 and 2006, Elliott was the first director of Tokyo's Mori Art Museum, a large privately endowed museum devoted to contemporary - particularly Asian - art, architecture and design.

During 2007 he was the first Director of Istanbul Modern and in 2008 was Rudolf Arnheim Guest Professor in the History of Art at the Humboldt University, Berlin and a Visiting Professor in Curatorship and Museum Studies at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, where he still works.

From 2008 to 2010, he was Artistic Director for the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 'THE BEAUTY OF DISTANCE: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age' which took place 12 May - 1 August 2010.

In 2009, he delivered the Toshiba Lecture Series, 'Rethinking Art after the Age of "Enlightenment"', at the British Museum in London.

From 2011 to 2012 he was Artistic Director of the 1st Kiev International Biennial of Contemporary Art entitles 'The Best of Times, The Worst of Times. Rebirth and Apocalypse in Contemporary Art'.

From 2013 to 2014 he was Artistic Director of the IV Moscow Biennale of Young Art 'A TIME FOR DREAMS'.

His exhibition 'Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between heaven and hell in contemporary Japanese art,' opened at Japan Society, New York in March 2011 and was judged by the American Branch of the International Association of Art Critics [AAICA] as 'the best exhibition in a non-profit or public space in 2011'.

'Between Heaven & Earth. Contemporary Art from the Centre of Asia' was shown at Calvert 22 London from September to November 2011.

From 2010 to 2012 he was advising the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charitable Trust on the artistic development and programming of the Central Police Station Heritage site (CPS) in Hong Kong. Since 2010 he has been Chairman of the Board of the Triangle Art Network at Gasworks in London.


David Elliott has conceived and curated a large number of exhibitions including: Art and Power: Europe under the dictators 1933–1945 (1995);

Wounds: between democracy and redemption in contemporary art (1998);

After the Wall: art and culture in post-Communist Europe (1999);

Organising Freedom: Nordic art in the '90s (2000);

Tokyo Young Artists' Video Initiative (2001);

Absences (2002);

Happiness: a survival guide for art and life (2003);

Africa Remix: the contemporary art of a continent (2004);

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Where is Our Place? (2004);

Follow Me! Chinese Art at the Turn of the Millennium and Hiroshi Sugimoto (2005);

Tokyo Berlin/Berlin Tokyo, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2005);

Hatsu-yume [First Dream]: the video art of Bill Viola (2006);

From Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic: modernity at a time of change (2007);

Time Past, Time Present: 20 years of the Istanbul Biennial (2007);

The Quick and the Dead: Rites of passage in art, spirit and life (2009).


  1. ^ ‘ELLIOTT, David Stuart’, Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012 ; online edn, Nov 2012 accessed 19 May 2013

External links[edit]