David Elliott

Ars Fennica expert 2010

Born 1949 in Great Britain
Studied history at Durham University and art history at Courtauld Institute of Arts, London
David Elliott is a curator, writer, broadcaster and museum director.


2010 Artistic Director of Sydney Biennale
2008, Rudolf Arnheim Guest Professor of Art History at Humboldt University, Berlin.
1998–2004, President of CIMAM (the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art)
2007 the first Director of Istanbul Modern, Turkey
the founding Director of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan from 2001–2006
Director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden from 1996–2001
1976–1996 Director of the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, England from
David Elliott is a cultural historian whose main interests concern contemporary art, Russian avant-garde and the visual cultures of central and Eastern Europe, Asia and the non-western world from the late nineteenth century. Beginning in the early 1980s, he formulated a series of pioneering exhibitions in one of the first programs to integrate non-western culture with contemporary art. He has published a large number of books, articles and catalogues on these subjects and has curated many exhibitions. He has also written extensively about the present-day role and function of museums and contemporary art.

Exhibitions he has conceived or worked on include:
‘The Quick and the Dead: Rites of Passage in Art, Spirit and Life’ (2009).
‘Time Present, Time Past: Highlights from 20 Years of the International Istanbul Biennial’ (2007)
‘From Ottoman Empire to Turkish Republic’ (2007)
‘Bill Viola: Hatsu-Yume [First Dream]’ (2006)
‘Tokyo-Berlin/Berlin-Tokyo’ (2005)
‘Hiroshi Sugimoto’ (2005)
‘Follow Me! Chinese Art at the Threshold of the New Millennium’ (2005)
‘Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Where is Our Place?’ (2004)
‘Africa Remix: contemporary art of a continent’ (2004)
‘Happiness: A Survival Guide for Art and Life’ (2003)
‘Absences’ (2002)
‘Young Video Artists’ Initiative’ (2002)
‘Organising Freedom: Nordic Art of the ’90s’ (2000)
‘After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe’ (1999)
‘Wounds: Between Democracy and Redemption in Contemporary Art’ (1998)
‘Art and Power: Europe Under the Dictators 1930–1945’ (1995)