Klaus Biesenbach, the former director of MoMA PS1 in New York City, and Chief Curator at Large of MoMA, will become the new director of one of our architectural clients, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Biesenbach reveals, “It is humbling to be invited to lead a museum that has already achieved so much, and that in so many ways represents the highest aspirations of contemporary art.”
Born in Germany, Biesenbach co-founded the Kunst-Werke (KW) Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin – now one of the city’s most important arts institutions – and the Berlin Biennale. Starting as a curator in 1995 at PS1, Biesenbach became curator of MoMA’s film and media department after MoMA merged with PS1 in 2000. In 2009, after the film and media department split, he expanded the media half into the Department of Media and Performance Art. Under his recent direction, he has tripled MoMA PS1’s board member numbers and more than doubled its budget.
A few of Biesenbach’s many celebrated curatorial achievements include the piece from visual artist Pipilotti Rist, “Pour Your Body Out” (2008); MoMA’s Marina Abramovic retrospective, “The Artist is Present” (2010); and the launching of “Rockaway!” which features large-scale commissions by contemporary artists around Rockaway Beach in Queens. Contrarily, his 2015 “Björk” exhibition is evidence of his propensity for risk-taking. The now highly-regarded sculptor Sarah Sze, who was a recent United States representative at the Venice Biennale, was given an early opportunity decades ago by Biesenbach at the Berlin Biennale.
Biesenbach was chosen unanimously by MOCA’s board from a pool of nearly 40 candidates. In a statement from co-chairs of MOCA’s board, Maurice Marciano and Lilly Tartikoff Karatz expressed, “The Board is excited to welcome Klaus Biesenbach, one of the world’s most knowledgeable, wide-ranging, and innovative museum executives of contemporary art.” Considering Biesenbach’s track record, we see a bright future in store for MOCA and the thriving art and design scene in our city of Los Angeles.