James Trainor


55th Carnegie International

55th Carnegie International

Douglas Fogle, curator of the next Carnegie International, talks to frieze about modesty, materiality and the meaning behind the show’s title: ‘Life on Mars’.

frieze, Issue 112, Jan/Feb 2008

James Trainor: Given that, at the time of going to print, the names of the artists invited to participate in the show haven’t yet been announced, a lot of the press coverage has dwelt on your prodigious travel schedule. In the light of this, how are you and your team defining the ‘international’ in the Carnegie International?

Douglas Fogle: The 55th Carnegie International is the second-oldest exhibition of this type in the world: it was founded about six months after the Venice Biennale, in 1896, when ‘international’ meant Paris and New York. In the 1920s, however, they started including Latin American and Japanese artists. Now the question of trans-nationalism has been well covered in terms of international exhibitions; there’s a point where you don’t need to do a show about the global to be global.

JT: But how do you cope with the pressure that organizing any major international survey places on you and your team to be hyper-culturally aware?

DF: I keep reminding myself that it’s just one show. You have to take a particular point of view and find a way in a finite space to make an interesting show that says something about the world today. No matter how many hundreds of thousands of miles I’ve covered, there are always other places to visit that I won’t get to. I rely on colleagues in some of those places to help me identify artists that I should look at.

JT: Are there any places that you haven’t visited that you wish you had?

DF: I was planning to go to Beirut in the summer of 2006 when the war broke out so I wasn’t able to make it there, or Israel either. There are some places in South America that I didn’t get to, such as Peru or Chile, but I was in Argentina and Brazil and spent a lot of time in Mexico and Central America.

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