100 art-world Instagram accounts to follow right now — Curators, Directors and Gallerists
The second of five instalments covering the top 100 art-world Instagram accounts that you might not already know about. Introducing the Curators, Directors and Gallerists...
Klaus Biesenbach has curated some of the most important collections of art in the world, holding senior positions at MoMA, MoMA PS1 and MOCA in Los Angeles. He has also served on the international jury of the Venice Biennale. In 2021, he took up a new post as director of the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, which has a world-renowned collection of Cubist, Expressionist, Bauhaus and Surrealist works.
Since 2015 — after a stint at MoMA — Eva Respini has been the Barbara Lee Chief Curator at the ICA/Boston. As well as overseeing the opening of the 15,000-square-foot Watershed space in 2018, she has organised exhibitions focusing on the internet and migration. Alongside this, she finds time to lecture on curatorial practices at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In 2022, she was the co-commissioner of the USA Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, selecting Simone Leigh to be the first Black female artist to represent the country with a solo show at the event.
The Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist has topped ArtReview’s annual art-world power list not once, but twice, and in 2014 he was described as ‘the curator who never sleeps’ in a profile in The New Yorker. As well as staging thousands of hours of interviews with artists, which he publishes in volumes, he has also authored a book on the history of curating. Currently, Obrist is the Artistic Director of London’s Serpentine Galleries.
After graduating with an MA in History and Archaeology from London’s School of African and Oriental Studies, Eva Langret worked at The Wapping Project and Tiwani Contemporary gallery, where she curated the first solo show of work by the American multimedia artist Maren Hassinger outside of the US. In 2019, Langret was announced as the new Artistic Director of Frieze London. Her Instagram is packed with gallery visits and the latest news from Britain’s most important annual art fair.
Originally founded in 1974 by the media tycoon Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil’s MASP owns an impressive collection of Western art by the likes of Rubens, Goya, Botticelli, Rembrandt and Picasso, all housed in a landmark brutalist building designed by Lina Bo Bardi. Initially, the museum pioneered a new way of showing artworks — suspended between glass sheets mounted on concrete plinths as if they were still on the artists’ easels. It was designed to allow visitors to view the reverse of the canvases. The idea was canned in 1996 after European galleries began to follow suit. But, in 2015, the system was reinstated by the museum’s new Artistic Director Adriano Pedrosa.
Arthur Bilj has the enviable task of safekeeping the Wallace Collection’s world-renowned holdings of Asian arms and armour. A graduate of the University of Oxford and the Courtauld — and a former Christie’s intern — Bilj joined the museum in 2019. The young curator has a passion for swords in particular, and on Instagram regularly shares brilliant, up-close photography of the jewel-encrusted daggers he cares for.
As the co-founder of the non-profit, Beijing-based modern and contemporary art gallery M WOODS, Wanwan Lei uses social media to chart her constant search for new local talent to support. The museum also stages shows of established artists from outside China, including Yinka Shonibare, Nicolas Party and David Hockney. Her other passion, which receives an equal number of posts, is animals — in particular, cats, dogs and donkeys.
The former International Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s oversaw the auction house’s first billion-dollar week of sales. He now runs his own gallery, Lévy Gorvy, which has spaces in London, New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Palm Beach. Every day he shares one artwork accompanied by pertinent song lyrics or poetry, as well as a little expert insight.
Mika Yoshitake is an independent scholar and curator who has worked with LACMA, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Guggenheim, among others. Her speciality is Japanese post-war art — she has a PhD from UCLA in the subject — and she is an expert on Yoshitomo Nara and Yayoi Kusama. Follow her page for updates on her forthcoming shows at M+ in Hong Kong in 2022, and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in 2024.
After several years spent working for the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the young Tunisian curator Myriam Ben Salah took on the role of Director and Chief Curator at the confusingly named Renaissance Society, a cutting-edge contemporary art museum on the campus of the University of Chicago. It’s free to the public and hosts regular concerts, performances, screenings and lectures alongside regular exhibitions.
Polly Staple is the director of the Tate museum’s collection of British art. Day to day, she manages and researches the acquisition of works of art made between 1500 and the present. She made her name debuting rising stars of the British art scene at London’s Chisenhale Gallery, and as the Editor at Large of frieze magazine. On Instagram, she highlights her favourite exhibitions, whilst also offering insight into the runnings of an influential gallery.
Since 2019, the Cameroonian curator Koyo Kouoh has been the Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA, one of the most important contemporary art museums in Africa. The New York Times even labelled her one of the continent’s ‘pre-eminent curators and managers.’ Previously, she worked for 1:54, the contemporary African art fair, and on the Dakar Biennial. Under her stewardship, Zeitz MOCAA has staged landmark exhibitions of artists including Alfredo Jaar, Otobong Nkanga and Tracey Rose.
Having worked his way through the ranks of Brazil’s Instituto Inhotim and the Serpentine Galleries in London, Jochen Volz is now the Director of the Pinacoteca de São Paulo. His account showcases some of the best artistic talent emerging from South America.
Nancy Spector made her name at the Guggenheim during the 90’s, curating exhibitions by artists like Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Louise Bourgeois and Marina Abramović. She was also selected to commission and curate works for the Venice Biennale twice, in 1997 and 2007. Her Instagram account is a visual feast of journeys to art exhibitions around the world along with her favourite works at each. It is a great tool for finding out what’s on and whether it’s worth the trip.
As the Head of Sales at Victoria Miro gallery, Matt Carey-Williams knows more about great contemporary art than most. He joined the gallery in 2018 after working his way up at Gagosian and White Cube. On Instagram he likes to share some of his favourite artworks, as well as pictures of birds spotted around the garden of his idyllic cottage in Wiltshire.
The wrier, curator and art dealer Chris Sharp runs Lulu by X Museum — an independent gallery in Mexico City that shows work by up and coming South American artists. In 2021, he also established the Chris Sharp Gallery in Los Angeles, which is dedicated to championing emerging and mid-career artists. His Instagram is ideal for discovering new talent from across the globe.
In 2017, The New York Times said that the Chinese collector and curator Michael Xufu Huang was ‘something of a next-generation Jeffrey Deitch of China’ in reference to the successful American curator. His love of art was inspired by seeing an Alex Katz exhibition at Tate St. Ives whilst still a young boy, and he began collecting works by Helen Frankenthaler aged just 16. In 2015 he co-founded M Woods gallery in Beijing, and a year later was named in Apollo magazine’s ‘40 Under 40’ Asia Pacific list. In 2020, he also co-founded X Museum in Beijing. With his legions of followers he likes to share Chinese contemporary art, as well as his globe-trotting lifestyle.
As might be expected from the Lonti Ebers Chief Curator of Media and Performance art at MoMA in New York, Stuart Comer’s Instagram feed is predominantly filled with work from both disciplines and it offers a fantastic guide for what and who to watch out for in these two emerging subjects. He was also the co-curator of the Whitney Museum’s 2014 Biennial, and from 2004-2013, served as the first Curator of Film at Tate Modern in London.
Alexie Glass-Kantor is one of Australia’s most successful curators. She is currently the Executive Director of Sydney’s Artspace gallery, where she supports the commissioning of contemporary art and research residencies, and the curator of the Encounters sector at Art Basel Hong Kong. In addition, in 2021 it was announced she would be curating Australia’s pavillion at the 2022 Venice Biennale, working with the ‘noise’ artist Marco Fusinato.
The Hong Kong-based curator William Zhao has advised the French Government on French-Chinese cultural relations, as well as the president of the Pompidou Centre, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, about Chinese contemporary art. His Instagram account provides a distinctive vision of how these seemingly opposing artistic worlds can converge — as well as some amazing dinners and frequent trips to the polo.
View part 3 of the 100 art-world Instagrams to follow right now: Collectors