Ilaria Puri Purini Appointed Andrew Heiskell Arts Director

Color photograph of a light skinned woman standing with her arms crossed and smiling at the camera in front of a fuscia wall
Ilaria Puri Purini (photograph by Stephanie Black)

The American Academy in Rome today announced that curator Dr. Ilaria Puri Purini has been selected to a three-year term as Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, a position based in Rome. The first person of Italian nationality to serve in this role, she will succeed interim Heiskell Arts Director Lindsay Harris this summer.

“We’re delighted to welcome Ilaria Puri Purini as the next Andrew Heiskell Arts Director,” said Mark Robbins, AAR President and CEO. “She brings a depth in curatorial studies and a knowledge of issues relating to contemporary culture and the arts, both in Italy and around the world.”

“Ilaria’s skills as a curator and a scholar make her a welcome addition to the multifaceted community at the American Academy in Rome,” said Director Aliza Wong. “We look forward to having Ilaria as part of our Rome team, helping to organize arts programming and engage Fellows with the city.”

An art historian, curator, and scholar, Puri Purini comes to the Academy from the Contemporary Art Society in London, where she has served as curator of programs, working with contemporary artists across Britain, with a special focus on expanding art-historical narratives and practices. She has also served in curatorial roles at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Scuderie del Quirinale. She curated and contributed to numerous exhibitions, including Adelaide Cioni: Ab’ovo / On Patterns (2023) at Mimosa House, and Pioneers: Morris and the Bauhaus (2019) at the William Morris Gallery, both in London.

“To return home to Rome as the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at AAR is a dream come true,” said Puri Purini. “Since my days as an art-history student in Rome, the Academy has represented creativity and experimentation in the visual arts. It’s a joy to be joining and contributing to that rich tradition.”

Puri Purini received her BA and MA in art history from La Sapienza University of Rome and her PhD from the London Consortium, Birkbeck College, University of London. A published scholar, she is the co-editor of Doing the Work: Embedding Anti-Racism and Decolonisation in Museum Practice (2022) and has contributed essays Dance Journal, Frieze, and Photography and Culture, among other journals.

Named in honor of the philanthropist Andrew Heiskell, the Arts Director organizes the Academy’s artistic and musical programs, exhibitions, and publications, and provides guidance to Rome Prize Fellows and Italian Fellows in the arts.

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Andrew Mitchell

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