PRINT May 1999

US News

Catherine de Zegher

Catherine de Zegher, co-founder and director of Belgium’s Kanaal Art Foundation, has been named director of the Drawing Center in New York, replacing Ann Philbin, who has run the SoHo kunsthalle-slash-salon for the past eight and a half years. De Zegher was responsible for an impressive series of contemporary exhibitions at the Kanaal over the past decade, including shows devoted to the works of Tony Oursler and Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles, as well as many high-profile independent projects, such as the twentieth-century section of “Bride of the Sun,” a survey of Latin American art, and “Inside the Visible,” an international exhibition of contemporary women artists. For the most recent Venice Biennale, she coordinated the Belgian Pavilion’s Thierry de Cordier exhibition.

While the Belgian-trained art historian points to her fusion of the historical and the contemporary as a distinguishing feature, like Philbin she is also known as a fund-raiser. “I ran Kanaal for ten years—every project had to be funded, and under the most impossible circumstances.” Artists praise her as well for her flexibility and resourcefulness. The only sour note in an otherwise enthusiastic chorus is some occasional grumbling about hiring a non–New Yorker to do a quintessentially New York job. De Zegher counters this provincialism, insisting that she has always kept a hand in the US scene; she aims to take the strong local vision of the Drawing Center and extend it globally. Expect an international cast in De Zegher’s first exhibition this fall (a contemporary group show), to be followed in 2000 by a historical look at futuristic architectural drawings.