Marathon Man: On the Run With Hans-Ulrich Obrist, the World’s Greatest Curator

This is revealing…and why curators don’t have much time for artists they don’t know yet…


At 8 a.m. two Sundays ago, Hans-Ulrich Obrist was at his midtown hotel, pouring packs of orange powder into a glass of water. He was casually immaculate in a checkered blue suit with a pressed white shirt. Mr. Obrist, co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery, was in New York for the Frieze Art Fair; the release of his book Do It: A Compendium, published by Independent Curators International; the opening of Expo 1, the ecologically-themed exhibition he helped organize at the Museum of Modern Art and its sister museum MoMA PS1; and a few dozen gallery shows, studio visits, meetings and parties.

“I stopped coffee,” Mr. Obrist said. He was speaking with the speed of an over-caffeinated teenager, his arms jittery and cutting the air for emphasis. He sleeps four or five hours a night. He wanted to meet at 7 a.m. I told him I didn’t think that was possible…

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