NEON Curatorial Award 2017 winner Caterina Avateneo, with Whitechapel director Iwona Blazwick, NEON founder Dimitris Daskalopoulos, NEON director Elina Kountouri, and the 2017 judging panel. Photo: Rosie Kennedy. Courtesy: NEON and Whitechapel Gallery.

Caterina Avataneo Wins 2017 NEON Curatorial Award

The Whitechapel Gallery in London has announced that Caterina Avataneo has won the 2017 NEON Curatorial Award, an annual prize established in 2012 by the gallery and NEON, a nonprofit organization in Athens. The award recognizes curatorial excellence and gives each winner the opportunity to propose an exhibition drawing from the D. Daskalopoulos Collection, which includes more than five hundred contemporary artworks by 220 international and Greek artists.

Avataneo was selected for her exhibition proposal “And Yet They Are Knocking at the Door,” which takes its title from a short story by the Italian author Dino Buzzati from 1942. Bringing together works by thirteen artists, including Giovanni Anselmo, Mona Hatoum, Jenny Holzer, Cindy Sherman, Rebecca Warren, and Rachel Whiteread, the exhibition addresses notions of human existential anxiety, death, paradox, and fate.

Chaired by Nayia Yiakoumaki, curator and head of curatorial studies at Whitechapel, the judging panel comprised Ben Eastham, editor of the White Review; Nadia Schneider Willen, collections curator at Migros, Zurich; and Tina Sotiriadi, an independent curator at H+S Projects.

For this year’s award, proposals were submitted by curators from Greece and by students and alumni from the following master’s programs: Curating the Contemporary, London; Metropolitan University and Whitechapel Gallery; Curating the Art Museum, Courtauld Institute of Art; Curating Contemporary Art, Royal College of Art; and Curating, Goldsmiths College.

Commenting on the winning proposal, the judging panel called the exhibition “poetic, innovative, and well articulated.” They continued, “Her departure point . . . is evocative of the social, political, and environmental contemporary realities we face, while the selection of artists and the choice of the Hepworth Wakefield as venue are sensitive and precise. Avataneo brings together celebrated and lesser-known works in ways that would create a compelling exhibition.”