The Visionary Circle will help us to engage new audiences, increasing the visibility and contemporary impact of Aby Warburg’s pioneering approach to the history of art and culture.

Established in 2020, the initiative is spearheaded by Mafalda Kahane, a Warburg family member, and is comprised of a strong core of young curatorial and creative leaders who have dedicated themselves to helping us raise the Institute’s profile and increase its impact in contemporary culture.

The Circle is a key component of the Warburg Renaissance and activities will include designing and programming our new spaces, developing new opportunities for visiting and resident artists, advising on artistic commissions and acquisitions and producing print and digital documentation.

The Visionary Circle is currently organising their exciting opening programme and this page will provide details on all events and initiatives.

To find out more about the Visionary Circle, please contact the Warburg Institute on


Mafalda Kahane (Chair)

Mafalda is a creative director and curator specialized in cross-disciplinary and experiential art. She is a co-founder of creative house TRIADIC, which most recently launched the annual music and art festival FORMAT in Bentonville, Arkansas. From 2015-2019 Mafalda was the Creative Director of Live Nation’s C3 MGMT, where she worked with emerging and established musical talent on artistic collaborations, creative identity and design.  Mafalda holds a BA in Business Administrations and graduated with an MA in Political Theory from the University of Texas at Austin. She sits on the board of the Friends of the Vienna Secession.

Allegra Pesenti

A native of Milan, Italy, Allegra Pesenti did her undergraduate studies at the École du Louvre and University College London, and received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the Courtauld Institute of Art where she specialized in the study of Italian drawings of the 15th and 16th centuries. She began her museum career in the prints and drawings departments of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, and the Louvre before joining the drawings department of the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1999. 

As Associate Curator at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles from 2006, she oversaw the Grunwald Center’s collection of 45,000 prints, drawings, photographs, and artists; books dating from the Renaissance to the present. She curated the exhibitions Gouge: The Modern Woodcut, 1870 to Now (2008), Rachel Whiteread Drawings (2010) and Zarina: Paper Like Skin, and was one of the co-organizing curators of Alina Szapocznikow: Sculpture Undone, 1955-1972 (2012). Allegra was hired as Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston in 2013 where she presented her exhibition Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now. She re-joined the Hammer Museum in 2017 as Associate Director and Senior Curator of the Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts, and co-curated a major retrospective of drawings by Victor Hugo (2018). More recently she curated an exhibition on the iconography of the moon entitled Drawing Down the Moon (2022) and the first museum survey on Picasso’s cut papers/papiers découpés (2022), both for the Hammer Museum. She is currently working as an independent curator based in Rome, Italy.

Alma Zevi

Alma Zevi founded her eponymous gallery in Venice, in 2016. The gallery’s mission is to provide a dynamic platform for both international emerging and established artists. The gallery is defined by both its artist-driven programme and its active engagement with the artistic community of Venice. It regularly hosts artist residencies where new bodies of work are produced in response to the city’s unique cultural heritage. Central to the gallery’s ethos is the artist residency and project space for young artists Alma founded. Alma graduated from the Courtauld Institute with a B.A. in Art History.

Candida Lodovica de Angelis Corvi

Candida is the Director of the non-profit branch of Colnaghi Est. 1760, the Colnaghi Foundation, whose mission is the promotion of Ancient and Old Masters and their transmission to a 21st century audience. She also represents Colnaghi gallery as cultural ambassador for collectors and institutional relationships, critical curatorship and exhibitions conception, private collections management, the gallery's strategic expansion towards new geographies and next-gen outreach. Born and raised in Italy, she received formal education in the UK and France. Equipped with a heterogeneous academic and professional background spanning Classics and Humanities, Global Finance, International Business and Renaissance Studies, she is also part of the research equipe Histara at the École Pratique des Hautes Études and the Institut Institut national d'Histoire de l'Art, a Aspen Institute Fellow and Unicef Ambassador. 

Daniel Birnbaum

Daniel Birnbaum is professor of art theory at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and the author of numerous books on art and philosophy. Since 2019 he is also the artistic director of London’s Acute Art, a laboratory exploring art and technology. From 2000 to 2010 he was rector of the Städelschule in Frankfurt and director of its Portikus gallery. Between 2010 and 2019 he was director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm. In 2009 he curated the 53rd Venice Biennial. Recent museum exhibitions include Swedish Ecstasy at Bozar in Brussels (2023) and Hilma af Klint and Wassily Kandinsky: Dreams of the Future at K20 in Düsseldorf (2024). His novel Dr B, published by Gallimard in 2021, was translated into eight languages. 

Dr. Flavia Frigeri

Flavia is an art historian and ‘Chanel Curator for the Collection’ at the National Portrait Gallery, London. From 2016 to 2020 she was a Teaching Fellow in the History of Art Department UCL and continues to be a longstanding member of faculty on Sotheby’s Institute’s MA in Contemporary Art. Previously she was ‘Curator, International Art’ at Tate Modern, where she co-curated The World Goes Pop (2015)and was responsible for Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (2014), Paul Klee: Making Visible (2013) and Ruins in Reverse (2013). She is the author of Pop Art and Women Artists both in Thames & Hudson’s Art Essentials series and the co-editor of a volume of collected essays, New Histories of Art in the Global Postwar Era: Multiple Modernisms (Routledge, 2021). She is currently curating exhibitions for Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy.

Dr. Gražina Subelytė

Dr. Gražina Subelytė is Associate Curator at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, where she curated the exhibitions “Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity” (2022), “1948: The Biennale of Peggy Guggenheim” (2018), “Rita Kernn-Larsen: Surrealist Paintings” (2017), and co-curated “Peggy Guggenheim: The Last Dogaressa” (2019–20) and “From Gesture to Form: Postwar European and American Art from the Schulhof Collection” (2019). Among other projects, she is currently organising the show on Peggy Guggenheim’s London gallery Guggenheim Jeune (2026) and an exhibition on Hedda Sterne. She provided art historical research for the International Research and Conservation project on Jackson Pollock’s painting “Alchemy” (1947), and she continually collaborates with the conservation department to study the objects in the museum’s permanent collection in depth.

Gražina co-authored the new handbook of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (2023) and authored the catalogue of the Schulhof Collection of art after 1945. She wrote various essays on modern art, and has lectured at institutions such as the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk; Museum Barberini, Potsdam; Taro Okamoto Museum of Art, Kawasaki; Northwestern University; University of Edinburgh; La Biennale di Venezia; GAMeC, Bergamo; and Accademia delle Scienze, Turin. Gražina completed her PhD at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

James Green

James Green is the Frances and Benjamin Benenson Foundation Assistant Curator of African Art at Yale University. James ensures that the Gallery’s important collection of African art is a vibrant and engaging resource for all visitors. His dual interest in collaborating with Yale students and faculty and cultivating partnerships with museums and universities in Africa helps to illuminate Africa’s rich art traditions and establish tangible links with contemporary art practices. He received a B.A. from Keble College, University of Oxford, and an M.A. from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and he completed his PhD in 2017 at the University of East Anglia.

Lucas Zwirner

Lucas Zwirner is the Head of Content for David Zwirner and David Zwirner Books. He oversees the editorial vision for the gallery, its publishing house, and its web and online platforms, deepening the conversation around the gallery’s artists, exhibitions, and projects through books, podcasts, video, web content, public programming, strategic partnerships, and online sales. Lucas graduated from Yale with a B.A. in Literature and Philosophy.

Martina Mazzotta

Martina Mazzotta is an independent academic and curator specialized in philosophy and its relationship with the visual arts, music and science. She is currently a visiting fellow at the Warburg Institute and has worked with some of the most established institutions across Europe, including the Gallerie d’Italia, the Fondazione Palazzo Magnani and the Saatchi Gallery. Previously, she worked with her father, Gabriele Mazzotta, in his publishing house and the Antonio Mazzotta Art Foundation. There she conceived and organized exhibitions, conferences and concerts in its own venue in Milan and in museums all over the world. She studied in Theoretical Philosophy at the Università degli Studi di Milano, followed by a PHD in Art History at the Universität Cattolica. She also studied philosophy at the Freie Universitaet in Berlin and at the Ludwig Maximilian Universität in Munich.

Yuval Etgar

Yuval is the Director of Research and Exhibitions at Luxembourg + Co, London and New York, as well as Adjunct Curator at the Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv, and a Visiting Tutor at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford. Yuval specialises in the history and theory of collage and image appropriation and has curated and published extensively on this subject across academic and public platforms. He holds a BA in Philosophy and History from Tel Aviv University, an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Royal College of Art, London, and a DPhil from the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford.