Artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries and instigator of global, networked art projects
If curating is all about connecting artists to institutions, with a big dose of talking, then the Serpentine Galleries’ artistic director, who celebrated his 50th birthday this year, keeps expanding all three. Not content with hosting the Serpentine’s annual all-day ‘talks marathon’ in October, the airmile-busting Obrist went stateside with a mini ‘interview marathon’ of eminent Chicagoans during September’s Art Expo Chicago. His cocurated show, inspired by Caribbean philosophers Lydia Cabrera and Édouard Glissant, opened at New York’s Americas Society not long after Obrist was announced as senior programme adviser to the city’s ambitious Shed arts centre, opening in 2019. And if one Serpentine Pavilion was not enough (this year’s London commission designed by Frida Escobedo), Obrist headed east to cut the ribbon on another in Beijing (by Liu Jiakun). Meanwhile, Obrist continued his close involvement with Maja Hoffmann’s LUMA centre in Arles, France, where he put on (with Daniel Birnbaum) a retrospective of Gilbert & George ahead of the vast site’s eventual opening in 2020.