Neville Wakefield is a writer and curator interested in exploring the ways in which art behaves outside of institutional contexts. He sees that art is most successful, enlightening, and provocative when it goes beyond stereotypical labels and white spaces and is revealed in new spaces—hybrid settings that transcend seclusion and suggest new paradigms. As MoMA PS1’s Senior Curatorial Advisor and Frieze Projects’ Curator, Wakefield established a reputation for delving into the commercial and non-commercial constraints that shape art.
Wakefield’s collaborations with US and international institutions include the disruptive Matthew Barney exhibition Prayer Sheet with the Wound and the Nail at Schaulager Switzerland. Wakefield’s passion for how art functions outside of institutions led him to co-found Elevation1049, a site-specific biennial in Gstaad, Switzerland, which is currently in its fourth edition.
His position as Artistic Director of Desert X has been vital in establishing the biennial exhibition, which drew over 650,000 visitors to the Coachella Valley region of Southern California. Wakefield was also the driving force behind Desert X AlUla, in which art created in Southern California is juxtaposed with newly-commissioned pieces by Saudi Arabian artists, fostering an open and international cultural exchange while highlighting the environmental, ecological, social, and historical ecologies of the desert.