Mumbai-based curator Diana Campbell Betancourt travels the world in search of promising new artists. Now she’s one of 14 advisors helping to assemble the roster for the New Museum Triennial, which opens on February 25 in New York City. We asked her about the experience.
Q: How did you get involved with the Triennial?
A: Travel is at the heart of my practice—I’m not an armchair curator. I'd done studio visits in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Myanmar for the Samdani Art Foundation and the Dhaka Art Summit. Lauren Cornell, one of the Triennial’s main curators, liked my work in Bangladesh, and then the invitation came.
Q: Which artists are you most excited about?
A: Zar Min Htike is a Burmese painter who was in jail for seven years and who used to imagine ghosts were in there with him. He does these crazy surrealist works using discarded paints. I also met Shreyas Karle in Bombay in 2010. His Cinema City installation—which comments on the discord between urban life in India and its depiction in Bollywood—will be on display at the Triennial.
Q: What part of the world are you interested in next?
A: I’ve been seeing a lot of great artists from Mexico. Pedro Reyes takes guns that were used for drug warfare in Juárez and turns them into musical instruments. They’re beautiful pieces, but bringing them into India is difficult, as you can imagine.