Lic. phil. Tirdad Zolghadr

Tirdad Zolghadr is a curator and writer, currently affiliated with Al Quds Bard College and the International Academy of Art in Ramallah. His writing includes novels, essays and criticism. The working title of Zolghadr’s third novel is “Headbanger”. Curatorial work includes a number of discreet durational projects, as well as the Sharjah Biennial 2005, the UAE National Pavilion in Venice 2009, the Taipei Biennial 2010 and the ongoing Riwaq Biennale.



Born 1973, Iranian, Swiss and US citizen
Licence ès lettres, English & Comparative literature, University of Geneva 1999


Biennial Settings:

  • Member of 5th Riwaq Biennale curatorial team, Ramallah and environs (ongoing)
  • Curator of the 7th International Taipei Biennial 2010, TB10, with Hongjohn Lin
  • Curator of the 1st UAE National Pavilion, It’s Not You It’s Me, 53rd Venice Biennale 2009
  • Associate curator of the 7th Sharjah Biennial 2005 (chief curator: Jack Persekian)

Durational Projects (selection):

  • 2006–2010: Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie, curator, with Nav Haq, group exhibition project investigating class structures within contemporary art in five settings: Arnolfini Bristol, Tensta Stockholm, Townhouse Cairo, Platform Istanbul, Gasworks London. Featuring Annika Eriksson, Liam Gillick, Hassan Khan, Marysia Lewandowska & Neil Cummings, Marion von Osten et al. Publication: Sternberg 2010
  • 2006–07: unitednationsplaza Berlin, co-organizer of the one-year “exhibition as school” experimental academy founded by Anton Vidokle in the aftermath of Manifesta 6
  • 2002–2006: Ethnic Marketing, curator, project exploring postcolonial strategies in contemporary art, particularly in the wake of documenta 11. Including a group exhibition at Centre d’art contemporain Geneva 2004 (curated with Martine Anderfuhren) and various venues in Tehran 2006. Featuring the Atlas Group, Ursula Biemann, IRWIN, Bilal Khbeiz, Ahmet Ögüt, Hito Steyerl et al. Publication: JRP/Ringier 2006

Solo & Duo Shows (selection):

  • 2013: Gerard Byrne & Sarah Pierce, Monogamy, CCS Galleries, Bard New York
  • 2010: Chris Evans, I Don’t Know if I’ve Explained Myself, Mala Galeria Ljubljana
  • 2006: Meg Cranston, The Wonder and Horror of the Human Head, Cubitt London

Curated Conferences (selection):

  • 2013: The Flood of Rights, with Tom Keenan & Suhail Malik, LUMA Arles, featuring Rony Brauman, Rosalyn Deutsche, David Levine, Bernard Stiegler et al; publication forthcoming
  • 2011: The Human Snapshot, with Tom Keenan, LUMA Arles, featuring Ariella Azoulay, Roger Buergel, Hal Foster, Katya Sander, Eyal Sivan, Eyal Weizman et al. Publication: Sternberg 2012
  • 2006: A Fiesta of Tough Choices, with Maria Lind, IASPIS Stockholm, featuring Charlotte Bydler, Jonathan Harris, Philippe Parreno, Kate Rich et al. Publication: Torpedo Press 2007
  • 2004: Framed, conference series at HdKW Berlin, featuring John Akomfrah, Adrienne Goehler, Boris Groys, Angela McRobbie, Axel John Wieder et al.


  • 2013–ongoing: Faculty member at International Academy of Art in Palestine, Ramallah
  • 2013–ongoing: Faculty member at Al Quds Bard University, Abu Dis
  • 2012–ongoing: Advisor & lecturer at Campus Art Dubai
  • 2011–ongoing: Visiting faculty at Sandberg Institute Amsterdam
  • 2008–2013: Faculty member, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College NY


  • Artist monographs: Olivia Plender, Heman Chong, Carey Young, Amalia Pica, Chris Evans, Meg Cranston, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Shirana Shahbazi
  • Columns: WdW Review (ongoing), Metropolis M (2011–12), frieze (2006–08)
  • Editorial work: editor-at-large for Cabinet magazine (since 2008), editor of CCS Journal Red Hook (2011-13), co-editor of Bidoun magazine (2004-06)
  • Articles in: Parkett, The Exhibitionist, Modern Painters, Art Papers, Monopol, Abitare, Tank, Honar Farda Tehran, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, TAZ Berlin et al.
  • Selected essays in: The Goodness Regime, J. Manna & S. Storihle (eds.), forthcoming; Contemporary Art '89 to the Present, A. Dumbadze & S. Hudson (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell 2013; Cultures of the Curatorial, C. Dertnig & F. Thun-Hohenstein (eds.), Sternberg 2012; The Nightmare of Participation, M. Miessen (ed.), Sternberg 2011; Curating & the Educational Turn, P. O’Neill & M. Wilson (eds.), De Appel 2010; Manifesta 8 Reader, 2010; Selected Maria Lind Writing, B. Kuan Wood (ed.), Sternberg 2010; Judgment & Contemporary Art Criticism, J. Khonsary & M. O’Brian (eds.), fillip 2009; Art & Social Change, W. Bradley & C. Esche (eds.), Afterall Reader 2007
  • Fiction: Plot, novel, Sternberg 2012; Solutions 168–185: America, Sternberg 2010; Softcore, novel, Telegram Books 2007, translated 2008 into German (KiWi) and Italian (Edizioni ISBN); 2nd German edition 2011 (Süddeutsche Zeitung)


  • 2002–ongoing: Founding member of MEDIUM art & design collective (formerly SHAHRZAD); commissions include d12 magazine, Generali Foundation 2005, Prague Biennial 2005, publications include History (JRP/Ringier 2005)
  • 2005: Tropical Modernism, video, 26’, director & editor
  • 2002: Tehran 1380, documentary film, 47’, director & editor, with Solmaz Shahbazi