Elena Filipovic

Dynamic director of Kunsthalle Basel

This year Filipovic made most institutional curators look like idlers. Three years into her directorship at Kunsthalle Basel, she’s lately been balancing the emphatic championing of women artists – solo shows in the last year for Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Sadie Benning, Maria Loboda – with rewardingly elliptical group shows like this past summer’s Ungestalt. That’d be plenty, but in the past year the Princeton-trained art historian has also published two (admittedly long-gestating) books: a substantial and brilliant study of the ‘apparently marginal activities’ of Marcel Duchamp that additionally serves as a sly exegesis on curating-as-art and an exhortation to artistic boldness, and a tightly researched Afterall ‘One Work’ volume on David Hammons’s iconic 1983 Bliz-aard Ball Sale. Even her predecessor in Basel might be looking on enviously, and he just directed Documenta. Filipovic is ambitious enough to do that too; but also smart enough to rewrite the script.