Francesco Manacorda, Who Left Moscow’s Prestigious V-A-C Foundation Amid War, Will Lead the Castello di Rivoli in Turin

Manacorda will succeed Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, who will retire from her role as director at the end of the year.

Francesco Manacorda. Courtesy Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea.

Curator Francesco Manacorda has been named successor of Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, taking over as head of the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea in Turin following Christov-Bakargiev’s retirement. After seven years, the curator leaves her director post in December. Manacorda will begin his new role on January 1, 2024.

Manacorda, previously the artistic director of Moscow’s V-A-C Foundation for five years, left the job abruptly following Russia’s invasion in Ukraine last year. He was among the bulk of art world talents who quit Russia en masse because of the war.

“Unfortunately, current events have significantly changed labor and personal conditions, which is why I came to the conclusion that I will not be able to continue working with the same dedication that I could be proud of,” Manacorda told Russia’s TASS press service, according to ARTnews. “My decision was given to me with much difficulty and repentance.”

Shortly before his departure, Manacorda opened GES-2 in Moscow, a lavish art center designed by Renzo Piano. The center is backed by the VAC Foundation, a non-profit founded by billionaire Leonid Mikhelson, CEO of Russia’s largest private gas group Novatek and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin. Mikhelson bankrolled many exhibitions in the west for over a decade until he was sanctioned by western governments following the outbreak of the war.

Manacorda has vast experience in curating and leading art organizations. He was previously artistic director of Tate Liverpool from 2012 to 2017, director of Artissima from 2010 to 2012, and curator at Barbican Art Gallery between 2007 and 2009. He co-curated Liverpool Biennial in 2016 and the 11th Taipei Biennial in 2018. Between 2006 and 2011, he was visiting lecturer in curating contemporary art at the Royal College of Art in London.

Christov-Bakargiev, a visionary curator famously known her achievements including the success of Documenta 13 in 2012, was appointed director of Castello di Rivoli in 2016. Under her directorship, the institution has launched many forward-thinking, research-led initiatives advocating the traditional art world to rethink and embrace the future, such as the research and display of the famed Cerruti Collection of European Art, built by the late bookbinder Francesco Federico Cerruti, as well as art projects responding to the pandemic, war, and technological transformation.

“I’d like to invent a new kind of institution that could be a museum of the future,” she had told Artnet News.

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