Artes Mundi announce Karen MacKinnon as new Director

Date posted: May 21, 2013

Karen MacKinnon has been appointed Director of Artes Mundi International Visual Arts Exhibition and Prize.

MacKinnon has been working as an international curator based in Wales for the past sixteen years, including roles at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea and Chapter, Cardiff.  During that time she has organised and curated contemporary and historical exhibitions and has developed a specific interest in the relationships between local and global, place and locality. More recently, she has been working in a number of different contexts both on and off site, working with socially engaged practitioners as well as those whose work is gallery based.

In 2005 she curated the exhibition Somewhere Else Wales at the Venice Biennale which included the work of Peter Finnemore, Laura Ford, Paul Granjon and a residency with Bedwyr Williams. In 2008 she co-curated with Maria Clara Bernal the exhibition Displaced: contemporary art from Colombia which showed the work of 15 artists including artists such as Oscar Munoz, Jose Alejandro Restrepo and Maria Elvira Escalon. She is currently working on Lets see what happens… an international exchange between seven artists Tim Davies, Yingmei Duan, Paul Emmanuel, Owen Griffiths, Zeng Huanguang, Maleonn Ma, Fern Thomas. MacKinnon will return to curate this exhibition for Glynn Vivian Art Gallery which takes place over 8 venues and public places in Swansea in October 2013.

Karen MacKinnon said: “I am thrilled to take up the post of Director for Artes Mundi. Artes Mundi is a very important international initiative, presenting and supporting contemporary artists at pivotal moments of their careers. It brings together some of the world’s leading artists in one powerful biennial exhibition that speaks of the human condition in so many different ways. Whilst the Exhibition and Prize remain at the heart of Artes Mundi, I look forward to developing further partnerships, collaborations and global networks to create a web of activity celebrating the vitality and purpose of contemporary art at the heart of our international culture”.

Mathew Prichard CBE, Chairman of Artes Mundi said: “We are delighted that Karen MacKinnon will be joining Artes Mundi. She will be our first Welsh Director and offers a wealth of experience and understanding of the arts scene both in Wales and Internationally. A combination which will build on the organisation’s success and help it to continue to grow in global status.”

Established in 2002, Artes Mundi is committed to supporting groundbreaking contemporary visual artists from around the world whose work engages with social reality, lived experience and the human condition. Artes Mundi is best known for its biennial international Exhibition and Prize which takes place in Cardiff. The exhibition is Wales’ biggest and most exciting contemporary visual art show. One of the shortlisted artists is awarded the prize of £40,000, the largest art prize in the UK and one of the most significant in the world.

In 2012 Mexican artist Teresa Margolles was awarded the prize for Artes Mundi 5. Previous winners were Xu Bing (2004), Eija-Liisa Ahtila (2006), NS Harsha (2008) and Yael Bartana (2010).

MacKinnon will take up her post in July 2013 as Artes Mundi enters its sixth cycle. The Artes Mundi 6 exhibition and prize will take place at National Museum Cardiff from October 25 2014. Nominations are currently open for Artes Mundi 6, for full details and to nominate visit

Contact Us | Terms of Use | Trademarks | Privacy Statement
Copyright 2013 Artes Mundi. All Rights Reserved

Design by