The American-born, London-based curator Ralph Rugoff, the director of London’s Hayward Gallery, has been appointed artistic director of the 2019 Venice Biennale. He is the first UK-based curator to land the prestigious role and the first American to fill the post since Robert Storr in 2007.
“I am absolutely thrilled with this appointment,” Rugoff said in a statement. “The Venice Biennale is the oldest and most prestigious exhibition of its kind internationally.” He noted that he plans to remain in his current position at the Hayward while he tackles the Biennale.
Rugoff is no stranger to juggling a day job with extracurricular projects. He was the curator of the 2015 Biennale de Lyon and recently co-organized the talks program at Frieze London. (The program focused on artists’ ability to disrupt conventional ideas of the real—a highly topical subject in the era of fake news.)
At the Hayward, Rugoff has developed a reputation for original exhibitions and a program that attracts a broad public. He has organized intriguing and ambitious group shows around the themes of light, outsider art, humor, and Brutalist architecture. He has also overseen solo exhibitions of artists ranging from Martin Creed and Tracey Emin to Carsten Höller and Ed Ruscha. The Hayward is due to reopen after a revamp on January 25 with an exhibition of work by photographer Andreas Gursky.