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The 37-year-old Gioni was promoted to associate director of the New Museum in 2010 after an impressive run organizing or helping to organize exhibitions such as the "Younger than Jesus" triennial and Urs Fischer's "Marguerite de Ponty," as well as the more personal "After Nature," which brought together a variety of art stars and eccentrics to form an exhibition described as a "visual poem." There is no doubt he knows how to draw a crowd: Recently, he co-organized Carsten Höller's ultra-popular "Experience" exhibition, and has even found the time to team up with "retired" artist Maurizio Cattelan on a new pop-up gallery, opening at Anna Kustera Gallery in February.
Gioni is no stranger to biennials: He curated “10,000 Lives” for the 2010 Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, an exhibition that was both notably ambitious and widely praised. Nevertheless, as the most-scutinized of art events, Venice offers a special challenge. Assuming the role of Venice Biennale curator involves being coronated art-world oracle, channeling two years’ worth of cultural zeitgeist into a single exhibition that is sure to draw fire from all sides. Parkett editor Bice Curiger organized the 2011 biennale, which was deemed over-reaching and underwhelming by many critics.
If any contemporary curator is up for this job in 2013, however, it may be Gioni. As this Web site's executive editor Ben Davis wrote in 2010 of the South Korean exhibition, “Gioni’s Gwangju Biennale restores my faith, a little, that biennials can be meaningful experiences. I can’t wait to see what he does in Venice.”
As for the other components of the Venice Biennale, Italian composer Ivan Fedele will act as director of the music sector, while Alex Rigola will continue in his post as director of theater and Ismael Ivo will lead dance.