Christine Macel

Curator of the 2017 Venice Biennale. Day job: Centre Pompidou chief curator (60 in 2006)\n

Any director of the Venice Biennale not included on this list in the year before their exhibition must have done something very wrong; needless to say, Christine Macel – the fourth woman to direct the show – hasn’t. Chief curator at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, since 2000, the bookish Macel has quietly assumed a high position in the curatoriat. Subjects of her shows include Sophie Calle, Gabriel Orozco and Nan Goldin, and she’s intimately familiar with the Giardini, having curated Eric Duyckaerts for the Belgian Pavilion in 2007 and Anri Sala’s lauded representation for the French in 2013. The larger story here appears to be that, in the wake of spotty reviews for Okwui Enwezor’s 2015 edition, which emphasised the world going to hell in a handbasket, Venice’s organisers wanted a change of pace; Macel’s show Viva arte viva, designed as a set of interconnecting pavilions, looks set to celebrate artistic expression. It is, she said, ‘a “yes” to life, although sometimes a “but” lies behind’, and promises ‘a journey, from the interiority to the infinity’. Expectations, then, are high.