Dr. Omar Kholeif, FRSA is a writer, curator and editor. He is currently the Director of Collections and Senior Curator at the Sharjah Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates. Recent curatorial projects include, the 14th Sharjah Biennial; Time, Forward! the V-A-C Foundation's presentation at the 58th Venice Biennale; the Focus sector at Abu Dhabi Art, and David Lynch's first retrospective of his visual art for the Manchester International Festival. He is also currently at work on two major monographs.
Previously, Kholeif held the position of Manilow Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Prior to this, he was Curator at London’s Whitechapel Gallery, Senior Curator at Cornerhouse and HOME, Manchester and Curator at FACT, Liverpool. A prolific curator, Kholeif has organised over 100 exhibitions, projects and commissions internationally from the Venice Biennale, the Liverpool Biennial to the Sharjah Biennial. Kholeif's exhibitions have traveled to venues internationally including, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; MIT List Visual Art Center, Cambridge, MA, and MAAT in Lisbon.
Kholeif has written extensively on art in a global context, focusing on art that intersects with the internet, as well as works of art from emerging geographic territories that have yet to be seen in the mainstream. He is the author and or editor of over two-dozen books and his writing has appeared in The Guardian, Wired, frieze, and Artforum, among numerous publications.
Media organisations such as, The New York Times, BBC, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, GQ, The Economist, The Art Newspaper, Vice, The New Scientist, and others, have profiled his work. He has served on numerous juries, including those for the Film London Jarman Award and the Thoma Foundation Arts Writing Award in Digital Art. Kholeif has also won numerous awards including grants from the Graham Foundation and Creative Capital | The Andy Warhol Foundation.
In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Kholeif was ranked one of the 100 most powerful people in the art world by Artlyst and the Blouin Art Info Media Group; one of the 50 most powerful people in the Middle Eastern art world by both Canvas Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar; one of “8 curators to watch,” in 2015 and “one of the most influential curators of the year” in 2016 by Artsy; and, a “game changer” by British GQ. He was also ranked Number 15 by New City in Chicago’s Power 50, and one of Apollo Magazine’s 40 Under 40 global influencers.
Kholeif has taught and guest lectured at numerous universities including the University of Chicago, Hunter College, New York, Northwestern University, and the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, where he most recently served as a Visiting Tutor. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Churchill Fellow, a member of ICOM, the International Council of Museums, CIMAM, International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art, and AICA, the International Association of Art Critics.