Massimiliano Gioni (born in 1973 in Busto Arsizio, Italy) is a curator and contemporary art critic based in New York City, and artistic director at the New Museum. He is the Artistic Director of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan. Gioni was the curator of the 55th Venice Biennale.
Gioni has been involved in a wide range of projects: co-curator of the Venice Biennale (2003) (curating the La Zona section); co-curator of Of Mice and Men, the Berlin Biennial (2006); co-curator of Manifesta 5 (2005), curator of 10,000 Lives, the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010). In 2002, at 29, he opened a one-meter-square space, The Wrong Gallery, in Chelsea with Ali Subotnick (then of Parkett) and Maurizio Cattelan; when they lost the lease, they reopened in the Tate Modern. Gioni was US editor of Flash Art magazine from 2000 to 2002. Since 2003 Gioni has been directing the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, a nomadic museum which organizes exhibitions by contemporary artists in forgotten buildings, public monuments and abandoned palazzos in the city of Milan.
Gioni has worked on numerous exhibitions including: Uniform. Order and Disorder (PS1, New York, 2001); The Fourth Sex. Adolescent Extremes (Pitti Discovery, Florence, 2002); and Yesterday Begins Tomorrow (Deste Foundation, Athens, 2003). In 2003 Gioni was hired as the Artistic Director of Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan and he curated "The Zone" for the 50th edition of the Venice Biennial. He was part of the curatorial team for the presentation of acquisitions of the Dakis Joannou Collection (Athens, 2004).
While associate director at the New Museum, Gioni curated the signature group exhibitions "Younger Than Jesus" and "Ostalgia". Famed art critic Jerry Saltz wrote this about Ostalgia in his review of the top ten art events in 2011: “curator Massimiliano Gioni is now master of his own form of large-scale exhibition as narrative, time machine, pleasurable pedagogy, historical potboiler come to life, and insight."
As the curator of the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010), in Gwangju, South Korea, Gioni created a sprawling investigation of the relationships that bind people to images and images to people. Titled "10,000 Lives" and featuring works by more than 100 artists, realized between 1901 and 2010, as well as several new commissions, the exhibition was configured as a temporary museum in which both artworks and cultural artifacts are brought together to compose an idiosyncratic catalogue of figures and icons, faces and masks, idols and dolls. Gioni drew the exhibition title from Maninbo (10,000 Lives), a thirty-volume epic poem conceived by Korean author Ko Un while imprisoned in 1980 for his participation in the South Korean democratic movement. The 3,800 poems that compose Ko Un's magnum opus Maninbo (10,000 Lives) reads as a personal encyclopedia of humanity. Unfolding as a family album, the 8th Gwangju Biennale looked at images as sites of affection and means of survival. The exhibition also examined how images are fabricated, circulated, stolen and exchanged - interrogating their power, while trying to capture their many lives. Over 500,000 visitors attended.
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