Gianni Jetzer to Be Hirshhorn Museum’s Curator at Large

The curator is known for shaking things up.

Jetzer. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Gianni Jetzer, the former director of the Swiss Institute, has been named the curator at large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. The appointment was made by Melissa Chiu, the Hirshhorn’s new director, who hopes to transform the museum into a platform for more global and experimental work.

Jetzer will remain in New York in order for him to better channel new developments to the Hirshhorn from there and abroad, according to the New York Times, which reported the story. The Hirshhorn just kicked off its 40th anniversary celebration (see: “Hirshhorn Marks 40th Anniversary with Two Shows“).

Wherever he is, Jetzer has been great at breaking boundaries and channeling developments from elsewhere, as he did at the Swiss Institute, where his shows transcended the gallery’s uber-national identity, by, among other things, bringing in many American artists like Jordan Wolfson, Rita Ackermann, and Richard Phillips.

“Gianni has always aimed at going beyond the national stereotypes,” the Swiss Institute’s Clément Delépine said in an interview at the time of Jetzer’s last show there before his departure in August this past year. “The space we had before on Broadway had a strong national identity. I think Gianni has been very talented at erasing the national misconceptions. He was successful in this aim.”

Unlimited Exhibition

Since his departure, Jetzer has kept busy curating the Unlimited exhibition at Art Basel, a platform for large experimental projects that exceed the bounds—both physically and metaphorically—of the traditional fair booth, and co-curating with Chris Sharp the 12th edition of the Swiss Sculpture exhibition Le Mouvement, which was dedicated this year to performance in urban spaces, and showed no sculpture at all.

Most recently, we caught up with Jetzer this month at Longhouse Projects where he had curated Artadia’s 15th anniversary show (see: “Artadia’s 15th Birthday Adventure in NYC“) a fun exhibition that mined the organization’s 285 grant awardees and brought the work beyond the conventional white cube gallery space and took it into a fire museum across the street.

In a city like D.C., which is not particularly known for its defiance of convention, Jetzer will have his work cut out for him.


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