Xabier Arakistain professionally known as ARAKIS is a feminist curator based in Bilbao born in Madrid, Spain on this date. Arakis incorporated the category of sex as a curatorial criterion since his first exhibition, Trans Sexual Express (BilbaoArte, 1999).
In 2001 I worked with Rosa Martinez expanding Trans Sexual Express to include other contexts. It showed at the Santa Monica Art Center, Barcelona, Mücsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest (2002) and Kiosko Alfonso, La Coruña (2002). Between 2001 and 2003 he introduced gender parity into the exhibition program at the Fundación BilbaoArte Fundazioa, and from 2003 to 2006 directed the debates on art and feminism at the ARCO contemporary art expert forums. In 2005 he launched the Arch Manifesto 2005demanding that public administrations adopt practical measures to implement equality between the sexes in the field of art, which inspired article 26 of Spain’s Equality Act.
He was Director of Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea, Vitoria-Gasteiz, from 2007 to 2011, making it a pioneering institution in the development and application of feminist policies in the fields of contemporary art, thought and culture. At Montehermoso he curated exhibitions such as The Furious Gaze (co-curated with Maura Reilly), Living Together (co-curated with Emma Dexter), What I See. Susan Hiller (co-curated with Beatriz Herraez), or Kick in the Eye. Eight Feminist Strategies to Interrupt the Male Gaze. In 2008, concerned about hurdles to the transmission of feminist knowledge between generations and the shortage of feminist texts in translation, I have started, in collaboration with feminist anthropologist Lourdes Méndez, the yearly interdisciplinary, international and intergenerational course Artistic Production and the Feminist Theory of Art : New Debates . Since 2012, the course is held at Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao, under the title Feminist Perspectives in Art Production and Theories of Art .
He has curated retrospective shows devoted to Feminist Art pioneers like Margaret Harrison (Margaret Harrison, Dialogues between sex, class and violence, Azkuna Zentroa 2017-2018), Judy Chicago ( Why not Judy Chicago ? , CAPC Bordeaux and Azkuna Zentroa 2015) and the Guerrilla Girls (Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2016-17, FRAC Lorraine, Metz, 2016-17, Slaughterhouse, Madrid 2015, Alhóndiga Bilbao 2013 and BilbaoArte 2002) or undeground artist Leigh Bowery (Museu Textil i de la Indumentaria de Barcelona 2004 and BilbaoArte 2002) as well as the shows Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, 86 steps in 45 Years of Art and Feminism (Museum of BBAA, Bilbao 2007), For all audiences (Sala Rekalde, Bilbao 2006) and Switch on the Power (MARCO, Vigo, CC Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, CAM, Gran Canaria).
Arakis graduated at the UPV / EHU School of Social Sciences and Media Studies. He also obtained a Master of Advanced Studies with a paper on sex, gender and sexual identities in film, as well as a Master’s Degree in Film Studies from the same university. Arakistain has given lectures at Tate Modern; the Royal College of Art and UCL in London; the EHESS in Paris; MAK in Vienna, the 8th Berlin Biennale; the Brooklyn Museum and the New Museum in New York; Boston College; MUAC in Mexico City; the University of Costa Rica; the Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile and MNCARS in Madrid, among others.