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Okwui Enwezor at HKW Berlin, Oct. 2001
© Photo: Haupt & Binder, universes.art
Okwui Enwezor, a curator, art critic, editor, writer, was born on 23 October 1963 in Calabar, Nigeria. He died of cancer on 15 March 2019 in Munich, Germany, at the age of 55.
In 1982 Enwezor moved to New York. In 1987 he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political sciences at the New Jersey City University. He began his activities in the art field in poetry, performed at venues in the East Village, and started to publish. In 1994, Enwezor launched Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art, together with Chika Okeke-Agulu and Salah Hassan. He became associate curator at the International Center of Photography in New York.
Okwui Enwezor’s wide-ranging practice spans the world of international exhibitions, museums, academia, and publishing. He served as Director, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2011–2018) and Dean of Academic Affairs and Senior Vice-President, San Francisco Art Institute (2005–2009). Enwezor was Global Distinguished Professor in the Department of Art History, New York University (2013) and Kirk Varnedoe Visiting Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (2012).
Curatorial work (selection)
In/sight: African Photographers, 1940 - Present. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Co-Curator and Editor of the publication.
2nd Johannesburg Biennale, South Africa. Artistic Director
(see the interview by Binder & Haupt, July 1997, Universes in Universe)
The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945–1994. Munich, Berlin, Chicago, New York (until 2002)
documenta 11, Kassel, Germany. Artistic Director
Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago
2nd Seville Biennial. Artistic Director
Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography, International Center of Photography, New York
7th Gwangju Biennale, South Corea. Artistic Director
Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, New York (2008)
Meeting Points 6. Artistic Director
Paris Triennale. Artistic Director
Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life. International Center of Photography, New York
56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale. Artistic Director
Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945–1965. Haus der Kunst, Munich
El Anatsui. Triumphant Scale. Haus der Kunst, Munich
Sharjah Biennial 15
Enwezor conceived the 15th edition of the Sharjah Biennial (SB15), entitled Thinking Historically in the Present. In accordance with his wishes, SB15 will be realized by Hoor Al Qasimi, as co-curator alongside a working group of Enwezor’s longtime collaborators: Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Ute Meta Bauer, Salah M. Hassan, Chika Okeke-Agulu.
Among Okwui Enwezor's many publications are Postwar: Art between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945–1965 (Prestel Publishing, 2017), which he co-edited; Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life (Prestel Publishing, 2013); Contemporary African Art Since 1980 (Damiani, 2010); Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity (Duke University Press, 2009); and Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Market (Iniva, 1999).
© Compiled by Universes in Universe
Photo: Haupt & Binder, 2001