The Istanbul Biennial is a key event in the international contemporary art scene -- a highly visible, highly respected exhibition that draws more than 100,000 visitors to the city and exposes them to some of the most engaged and relevant art being made today. In its opening week, the 12th Istanbul Biennial (which remains open through November 13) was attended by almost 4,000 guests, including critics, curators, museum and gallery administrators, and approximately 400 members of the press from 50 different countries. Everything they saw (whether they realized it or not) bore the marks of a CCA affiliate's hand -- specifically two CCA curators, one CCA graphic designer, and one CCA editor. They also saw the work of one faculty member and three alumni; all three alumni had entire galleries devoted to their work.
CCA President Stephen Beal, chair of the Board of Trustees F. Noel Perry, other trustees, and several members of the CCA Curator's Forum (a dedicated group of Wattis Institute supporters) flew to Istanbul for the opening weekend. Stephen Beal remarked, standing at the biennial entrance, "It is very gratifying to see the college so prominently represented here. It is evidence of the major relevance, at the international level, of what we are doing, and the kinds of experiences and access that CCA makes available to its community."
It was almost two years ago that Wattis Institute director Jens Hoffmann accepted the invitation to co-curate the 12th Istanbul Biennial. Beginning with that moment, what began as a single thread of connection between the college and the city of Istanbul expanded into a densely packed web involving multiple individuals.