Lauren Cornell: Crusading Curator

Three years ago, Lauren Cornell, then the director of the art-and-tech organization Rhizome, wrote in an essay for Frieze magazine that she “spent a considerable amount of time thinking about why ‘Internet’ is such a gauche word in contemporary art.” These days, she finds the idea laughable. “Things have really changed,” she says. “The Internet has been internalized by the art world.” A lot of this has to do, of course, with the emergence of the Web-savvy artists that Cornell, 36, championed when she was a co-curator of the first triennial at the New Museum in New York, in 2009. Most prominent among them is Ryan Trecartin, whom Cornell, now full-time at the New Museum, brought on as her co-curator for the museum’s next triennial, to open in spring 2015. This time around, they realized that the Internet has helped break down not only the art world’s barriers but also the tyranny of age. “Youth doesn’t have to do with a number,” says Cornell, who has done away with age cutoffs (in 2009, the artists were under 33). “It has to do with freedom.”