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Vallejo Gantner. Photo: Arion Doerr.
Vallejo Gantner. Photo: Arion Doerr.

Vallejo Gantner Named Artistic and Executive Director of Onassis USA

The Australian-born curator Vallejo Gantner, who helmed Performance Space New York from 2005 to 2017, has been appointed artistic and executive director of Onassis USA. Gantner will lead all of the foundation’s cultural activities in the US and will take up the post on April 1.

“We are at the beginning of a new era for Onassis Culture in Athens, New York, and beyond,” Afroditi Panagiotakou, director of culture at the Onassis Foundation, said. “Vallejo Gantner’s talent, vision, and innate curiosity are perfectly compatible with our strategy for the future. I am excited to see him lead Onassis USA to new heights.”

Gantner currently serves as an artistic adviser to Brooklyn Academy of Music artistic director David Binder and a curatorial advisor and dramaturge for Theater der Welt in Düsseldorf. Previously, he worked as coproducer of the entertainment company Spiegelworld (2006–2008), director of the Dublin Fringe Festival (2002–2004), artistic associate of the Melbourne Festival (2000–2001), and executive producer of three independent feature films.

Gantner is joining Onassis USA as it prepares to open its Onassis Festival 2019: Democracy Is Coming, which is copresented by the Public Theater and curated by Mark Russell, on April 10. The festival celebrates democracy and examines its evolution from ancient Greece to modern-day America through a number of performances and conversations that range from Lena Kitsopoulou’s retelling of Antigone to 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s production of The Fever.  

Commenting on his new role, Gantner said: “In the US—as we examine our notions of democracy, cities, and the ways culture and the arts can effect change—I am thrilled to join the Onassis teams here and in Athens, and to continue that urgent exploration with new work, new ideas, new forms, and new audiences.”

Founded in 2000, the Onassis Foundation USA is the first international affiliate of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation. Dedicated to culture, community, and education, the organization presents theatrical and dance productions, exhibitions, conversations, lectures, and other events through its two major initiatives: the Onassis Cultural Center New York and the Onassis Humanities Impact Program.