Christine Macel

Curator of the 2017 Venice Biennale. Day job: Centre Pompidou chief curator

It is safe to say that Viva Arte Viva, Macel’s nine-chapter Venice Biennale, did not receive an enthusiastic critical reception. ‘The display as
 a whole is among the least visually stimulating I’ve yet encountered,’ wrote Apollo’s critic; a show full of ‘mediocrity and irrelevance’, thought The Guardian. Macel’s pointed avoidance of politics ‘seems as basic as it is infantilizing’, bemoaned Art Agenda. Yet Macel, chief curator at the Centre Pompidou since 2000, should at least be applauded for inviting 103 artists (out of a total of 120) to participate in the biennale for the first time. Nor did the criticism hurt the show’s footfall: over 60,000 people visited in the first three weeks, a 23 percent increase on 2015. Back in Paris, highlights at the Pompidou, which would have been without Macel’s full attention this year, included survey exhibitions for Walker Evans and Nalini Malani.