Alanna Heiss, Director of ARTonAIR.org and the Clocktower Gallery, is a leader of the early 1970’s alternative spaces movement in New York City, beginning with Under the Brooklyn Bridge, a 1971 outdoor exhibition she organized with Gordon Matta-Clark, and featuring installations by pioneering American and European artists. She founded the legendary Clocktower Gallery in 1972, founded P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 1976, and was its Director until 2008. Heiss has organized over 700 exhibitions at P.S.1 and in art spaces around the world, including the inaugural P.S.1 exhibition Rooms (1976); New York, New Wave (1981); Stalin's Choice: Soviet Socialist Realism, 1932-1956 (1993); Greater New York (2000 and 2005, selecting curator), and Arctic Hysteria (2008); as well as solo shows including Robert Grosvenor (1976); Keith Sonnier (1983); Alex Katz: Under the Stars, American Landscapes 1951-1995 (1998); John Wesley: Paintings 1961-2000 (2000), and Gino De Dominicis (2008), among numerous others. In 2003 founded Art Radio WPS1.org, the Internet radio station of P.S.1 and first ever all-art museum station. Among her numerous publications are catalogues of the work of Janet Cardiff, Alex Katz, Dennis Oppenheim, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Katharina Sieverding, and John Wesley.
Heiss was Commissioner of the 1985 Paris Biennial, and Commissioner of the 1986 American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She is the recipient of the Mayor’s Award for Contributions to the Artistic Viability of New York City, France’s Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in the Légion d’Honneur, the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star, the Skowhegan Award for outstanding work in the arts, and the CCS Bard Award for Curatorial Excellence.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1943, Ms. Heiss received a BA from Lawrence University and a scholarship from the Lawrence Conservatory of Music. In 2001, Ms. Heiss received an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute, and in 2008, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.
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