Checkpoint Helsinki, the nonprofit contemporary arts organization founded in Finland in 2013, has announced that Paul O’Neill was appointed as its new artistic director. O’Neill, former director of the graduate program at Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies, will begin his new role in September.
“We are delighted to welcome Paul to work with us and we look forward to seeing where his vision and energy will take the organization,” board chair Kaija Kaitavuori said. “This is the first time a Finnish art organization has appointed a director who comes from abroad. It perfectly aligns with Checkpoint Helsinki’s mission to bring new models and fresh ways of thinking to the Finnish art scene.”
Over the last twenty years of his career, O’Neill has curated more than sixty projects and exhibitions and published in many books, catalogues, journals, and magazines. Among the books he’s penned recently are “The Culture of Curating and the Curating of Culture(s) (2012) and Durational Aesthetics: Time and Contemporary Art,” which will be released in 2018. He has served as a visiting international tutor in the de Appel Curatorial Program in Amsterdam since 2005, was an international research fellow with the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media in Dublin from 2010 to 2013, and from 2007 to 2010, he worked with Situations at the University of the West of England in Bristol, where he led the international research project Locating the Producers, that looked at durational approaches to public art.
“I am thrilled to be taking on the challenge of leading a new art organization in Helsinki and developing its local, national, and international standing,” O’Neill said. “It is a rare opportunity to establish an organization and its public program from the outset. Whilst expanding upon the impressive work of Checkpoint and its dedicated board, I look forward to building a work-together model for curatorial practice, where art, critical discourse, and its multiple publics are in constant dialogue with one another.”
Checkpoint Helsinki, which was put on hold in the fall of 2016, relaunched its programming this year after receiving a three-year grant from the Kone Foundation. As a result, the organization overhauled its operations, changed its name, and hired new leadership. Upcoming projects at Checkpoint Helsinki include “Uncanny Interdependence,” curated by Joanna Warsza, which examines the connections between Finnish independence and the October Revolution in Russia.