Claire Tancons is a curator, writer and researcher whose work focuses on Carnival, processional arts, and protest movements. For the last five years, Tancons has been pursuing both historical research and curatorial experiments with Carnival. As a curator for the 7th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2008), she organized SPRING, a 90-min. procession inspired by political demonstrations and carnival processions, hailed as one of the biennial’s highlights. As a guest curator for CAPE 09, the 2nd Cape Town Biennial, South Africa (2009), Tancons organized A Walk Into the Night, a 60-minute procession based on the traditions of the Cape Town carnival against the background of the forced removals of the apartheid era.
Tancons was the Associate Curator for Prospect.1 New Orleans for which she organized an exhibition of Mardi Gras Indian Victor Harris, as well as for Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans (2007-2009) where she curated various exhibitions including City Stage (2008) and Score & Script: Music in Video (2009). Tancons spent the year 2009 traveling and researching in over twenty countries in the Caribbean, South and West Africa and Europe for a large-scale project on contemporary carnival and processional arts for CAC New Orleans and other venues (slated to open 2013).
Tancons has held research and curatorial positions at the International Center of Photography where she contributed to Only Skin Deep. Changing Visions of the American Self (2004), at the Walker Art Center where she provided curatorial assistance to How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age (2003) and the Paula Cooper Gallery where she organized Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky’s Path is Prologue: Rebirth of a Nation (2004). Tancons has also organized exhibitions at non-profit art organizations in New York such as Artists Space (Robin Rhode: The Score, 2005), The Kitchen (Ralph Lemon: (The efflorescence of) Walter, 2007) and The Rotunda Gallery (Mas’: From Process to Procession, 2007), as well as in Port of Spain, Trinidad (Lighting the Shadow: Trinidad in and out of Light, 2004). She has written for Nka, Third Text and Small Axe as well as for a host of exhibition catalogues and lectures and publishes regularly about her work on Carnival at conferences worldwide.
Tancons holds an MA in Museum Studies from the École du Louvre in Paris, an MA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute in London and is a former curatorial fellow of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. She has been the recipient of various curatorial and research grants from the American Center Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Foundation for Arts Initiatives and the Prince Claus Fund. A native of Guadeloupe, French West Indies, Tancons currently lives and works in New Orleans.