Alanna Heiss in the Clocktower Gallery. Photo: Casey Kelbaugh, 2011.
Alanna Heiss in the Clocktower Gallery. Photo: Casey Kelbaugh, 2011.
Alanna Heiss
Host , Curator , Staff , Board Member

Alanna Heiss, Director of Clocktower Productions, is a leader of the groundbreaking early 1970’s alternative spaces movement in New York City, which radically changed the way large-scale art projects were produced, shown, and seen. In 1972 she founded the legendary Clocktower Gallery, and in 1976 she founded P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1) which she directed for 32 years, and transformed into an internationally renowned non-collecting center for the production and presentation of contemporary art.

Heiss has organized over 700 exhibitions at P.S.1 and in art spaces around the world. 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 served as Chief Curator of the Tribute for John Cage, organized for the 1993 Venice Biennial, and as the Curatorial Director of the 2002 Shanghai Biennale, and she was a panelist for the 2005 Yokohama Triennial. 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 resides in New York City with her husband, Fredrick Sherman.