Questionnaire: Venice Biennale Curator Ralph Rugoff

Q: What do you like the look of? A: A clear bright sky in the morning

Ed Ruscha, OOF, 1962/63. Courtesy: the artist, Gagosian Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and SCALA/Art Resource, New York

Ed Ruscha, OOF, 1962/63. Courtesy: the artist, Gagosian Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and SCALA/Art Resource, New York

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

A portrait by the Los Angeles artist Jeffrey Vallance of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former president of Iceland and the world’s first woman to be an elected head of state.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?

Little Anthony and the Imperials’ 1964 single, ‘Goin’ out of my head’.

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be?

The cave paintings at Lascaux.

What do you wish you knew?

The location of my blind spots.

What is your favourite title of an artwork?

OOF (1962/63) by Ed Ruscha.

What should change?

I think ‘should’ is a tricky word. Things I think should change almost never do.

What should stay the same?

Our distance from the sun.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do?

Many things, as long as it was with interesting people with a good sense of humour.

What music are you listening to?

Erykah Badu, Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.

What are you reading?

What Would Animals Say if We Asked the Right Questions? (2016) by Vinciane Despret.
Ball Lightning (2018) by Liu Cixin.

This article first appeared in frieze issue 203 with the headline ‘Questionnaire: Ralph Rugoff’

Ralph Rugoff is director of the Hayward Gallery, London, UK, and curator of the 58th Venice Biennale, Italy, which runs from 11 May to 24 November.

Issue 203

First published in Issue 203

May 2019

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Janiva Ellis, Catchphrase Coping Mechanism, 2019, oil on linen, 2.2 x 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and 47 Canal, New York; photograph: Joerg Lohse

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