Artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries and instigator of global, networked art projects
‘The work of the Serpentine – and its incomparable artistic director – cannot be allowed to be undermined,’ wrote CEO Yana Peel on quitting the London institution following revelations of her links to a cyberweapons company. Peel’s resignation was swift, allowing Obrist to concentrate on what he does best: being everywhere, knowing everyone. Outside the Serpentine Galleries – including shows for Pierre Huyghe, Emma Kunz, Hito Steyerl and Faith Ringgold this past year – and keeping a hand in the Luma Foundation in Arles, Obrist is also artistic adviser to The Shed, the New York arts complex that opened in April. That institution is directed by Alex Poots, his old chum from the Manchester International Festival, to which Obrist returned this year to cocurate an ‘exhibition of literature’ with novelist Adam Thirlwell. Not content with shaping art, Obrist also was art: the subject of 50 Times Obrist, a suite of paintings by Francesco Bonami. With this workload, Obrist really does need cloning.