Today the Office for Contemporary Art Norway issued a press release stating that the organisation’s new director will be the Anglo-Spanish curator Katya García-Antón. The new director holds a degree in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She has arranged and curated a large number of exhibitions of art, design, and architecture; for example, she curated the Spanish contribution to the São Paulo biennial in 2004 and the Spanish pavilion for the Venice Biennial in 2011. The latter was based on Dora García’s The Inadequate, a work which addresses inequality and exclusion. García-Antón has also acted as curator on less famous biennials such as the Praha Biennial of 2005 and the flagship exhibition for the very first instalment of the Qalandyia International Biennial in Palestine in 2012.
From 2002 to 2011 García-Antón headed the contemporary art institution Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva. The artists presented during her tenure there include Gardar Eide Einarson in 2008 and US photographer Taryn Simon in 2011. The programme created during García-Antón’s nine years of leadership also testify to a strong interest in art from the Third World. That interest is also evident from the fact that the new director of OCA has been part of the editorial council of Third Text magazine, which is devoted to art from developing countries. She has also worked as an art critic, e.g. for the BBC World Service. Furthermore, García-Antón has been associated with other international art institutions such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, IKON in Birmingham, and Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo.
The press release issued by OCA states that García-Antón’s endeavours are characterised by a keen interest in exploring alternative art contexts and exhibition formats. The board describes the new director’s previous work as being infused with critical, political, and subtle approaches to contemporary art. It is also stated that García-Antón has at times worked outside of established institutional frameworks and that she addresses perspectives beyond the purely Western. According to the board of directors this is entirely in keeping with OCA’s remit and ambitions.
In the wake of the considerable co-operation issues and tension between the last director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Marta Kuzma, and leading figures within the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, several voices have suggested that the organisation might now need a Norwegian director at the helm. Today, with the announcement of the appointment of García-Antón, it became clear that the organisation has yet again opted for a curator from abroad with no relationship or familiarity with the Norwegian or Nordic art scene. With this decision the board of directors seems to continue in the tradition established by previous appointments, where the greatest emphasis has been placed on having an OCA director with a large international network.
Katya García-Antón will accede to her new post in February of 2014.