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He is renowned for his research and critique of contemporary art. He was curator of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures World Cultures) in Berlin between 1994 and 1998; chief curator of the São Paulo Biennial in 2002 and 2004; curator of the Brazilian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 2003 and 2005; chief curator of the Biennial of the End of the World in Ushuaia, Argentina in 2009; chief curator the 6th Curitiba Biennial (together with Ticio Escobar); and curator of the Latin American Pavilions at the 54th Edition (2011) and the 55th Edition (2013) of the Venice Biennial, among other curatorial projects.
He was director of the Goethe-Institut in Lagos (Nigeria), Medellin (Colombia), Caracas (Venezuela), Moscow (Russia) and Brasília (Brazil). Since 2002 he is director of the Goethe Institute in Rio de Janeiro.