Sheikha Hoor Al-Qasimi is an artist and the president and director of the United Arab Emirates’ Sharjah Art Foundation. She was appointed curator of the Sharjah Biennial 6 in 2003 and has served as director ever since. Al-Qasimi received her BA at the Slade School of Fine Art in London in 2002 and her MA in curating contemporary art from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2008. She is known for her conceptually rooted exhibitions that push boundaries in the conservative Muslim state. In 2015, Al-Qasimi curated the United Arab Emirates’ National Pavilion for the Venice Biennale.
Richard Armstrong is director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. As head of the Guggenheim’s executive staff, he focuses on the pivotal role of the New York museum and its collection while also providing leadership and management for the other institutions in the global Guggenheim network and for the foundation’s international programs. Prior to his appointment at the Guggenheim, he served at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, as curator of contemporary art (beginning in 1992), chief curator (1995) and Henry J. Heinz II Director (1996–2008). During his 12 years of leadership, the museum added significantly to its collection, acquiring multiple works from the Carnegie International exhibitions. He serves in an advisory capacity on a number of foundation boards, including the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Kiev, Ukraine; the Artistic Council, Fondation Beyeler, Basel; the Al Held Foundation, New York; the Judd Foundation; and as director at the Fine Family Foundation, Pittsburgh.
Agustín Arteaga is director, Dallas Museum of Art, which he joined in September 2016. Previously he served as the director of the Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL) in Mexico City, one of Mexico’s largest and most prominent cultural institutions, presenting work from the mid-16th through the mid-20th centuries. He enhanced its exhibition program through key international partnerships, dramatically grew its annual attendance, established new streams of institutional support and expanded the museum’s collection. Under his leadership, MUNAL established individual and corporate sponsorships, which are unprecedented in Mexico. Prior to his tenure at MUNAL, Arteaga was the director of the Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP) in Puerto Rico, and the founding director of the contemporary art museum Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) Fundación Costantini in Argentina.
Neal Benezra is the Helen and Charles Schwab Director, SFMOMA, a position he has held since 2002. Benezra spearheaded the major project to transform SFMOMA through a physical expansion of the museum, designed by Snøhetta, and an extensive enhancement of SFMOMA’s programs, collections and education services. He formerly served as deputy director and Frances and Thomas Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, a dual position he assumed in 2000. Previously, he spent eight years at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., where he was assistant director for art and public programs (1996–99) and chief curator (1991–96). From 1985 to 1991, Benezra was a curator in the department of 20th-century painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was a curator at the Des Moines Art Center from 1983 to 1985, and before that served as one of the first coordinators of the Anderson Collection at Stanford University in the Bay Area.
Manuel Borja-Villel is director, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) in Madrid. Formerly, he was director of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, in Barcelona — from its opening, in June 1990, to July 1998 — where he organized exhibitions such as Els límits del museu (The Limits of the Museum) and La ciutat de la gen (The City of the People). From July 1988 to January 2008, he was director of the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Under his supervision the museum’s collection was also expanded and consolidated and the MACBA Library and Research Centre, in the Convent dels Àngels building, increased in size. As director of MNCARS since January 2008, the core of his program is also represented in the development and reorganization of the collection, as well as the start-up of an international museum network.
Robert J. Fisher is the president of the Board of Trustees of SFMOMA and has served as a trustee since 2003. He played a crucial role in forging the landmark partnership between the Fisher family and SFMOMA. Fisher is chairman of the board of Gap Inc. and has served on the company’s board since 1990. He has spent his career at the retailer, leading in operating capacities including chief operating officer and president of Gap brand.
Kate Fowle is chief curator, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. Founded in 2008 by Dasha Zhukova and Roman Abramovich, Garage is the first philanthropic institution in Russia to create a comprehensive public mission for contemporary art. Fowle is also director-at-large at Independent Curators International (ICI) in New York, where she was executive director from 2009–13. Prior to that she was the inaugural international curator at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, a nonprofit, non-collecting, non-governmental museum founded by collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens.
Joanne Heyler is founding director of The Broad, a new contemporary art museum built by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, in downtown Los Angeles. She has curated The Broad collection and directed The Broad Art Foundation’s “lending library” program since 1995. When the Broads decided to build a museum for their collection, Heyler was charged with transitioning the private foundation into a new public art museum. Over the past five years, she has developed the institution’s profile, built its staff and overseen the construction of The Broad museum and the development of every aspect of the museum's operations and programming. The Broad is the first entirely new major museum founded in Los Angeles in almost 20 years.
Max Hollein is director, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Previously he concurrently served as director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, the Städel Museum and the Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung where he oversaw a $69 million renovation and expansion. While he received half of that money from government sources, he also raised funds from private donors — using “the American model” — for the other half. From 1995 to 2000 he worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, from 1998 onward, as chief of staff and manager of European relations. He was general commissioner and curator of the American pavilion at the Seventh Venice Architecture Biennale in 2000, and general commissioner and curator of the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale in 2005. He is a member of various supervisory and advisory boards of cultural institutions worldwide.
Frances Morris is director, Tate Modern. She has played a key role in the development of Tate, joining as a curator in 1987, becoming head of displays at Tate Modern (2000–2006) and then director of collection, International Art, until April 2016 when she was appointed to her current role. She has continually worked to reimagine the Tate’s collection and has been instrumental in developing its international reach and its representation of women artists. She was jointly responsible for the initial presentation of the opening collection displays at Tate Modern in 2000, which radically transformed the way museums present the story of modern art. She is a board member of International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal.
Lars Nittve is the former director of M+ in Hong Kong, Moderna Museet and Tate Modern. After working as an art critic in the early 1980s, he began a career as a curator and later as a museum director, taking him to the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (chief curator 1985–1990); the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmoe, Sweden (founding director 1990–1995); the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (director 1995–1998); Tate Modern, London (founding director 1998–2001); the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (director 2001–2010); and M+ at West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong (executive director 2010–2016). Since 2016, he has been an external advisor to M+ in Hong Kong and an international museum consultant and CEO of Sweden-based Nittve Information AB.
Sarah Thornton is a writer, ethnographer and sociologist of culture. Described by the Washington Post as “the Jane Goodall of the art world,” Thornton is the author of Seven Days in the Art World and 33 Artists in 3 Acts. Formerly the chief writer on contemporary art for The Economist, Thornton has a BA in art history and a PhD in sociology.
Dominic Willsdon is the Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice at SFMOMA. Willsdon was also a co-curator of the ninth Liverpool Biennial, UK (2016), and was pedagogical cloud curator of the ninth Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil (2013). He is co-editor of Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (MIT, 2016), an anthology on public service in the work of artists and art institutions.