As a journalist and art critic, the French Brazilian Sheila Leirner (b. 1948) was a member of the Conselho de Arte e Cultura da Bienal in 1982−83. During that decade, she was also appointed chief curator of two biennials: the 18th (1985) and the 19th (1987). After studying the sociology of art in France, Leirner became an art critic for the daily newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo in 1975. She published a selection of her essays under the title Arte e seu tempo (São Paulo: Editôra Perspectiva, 1991), in which she focused on what she called “new art.” That was the year she moved to Paris, where she worked and specialized as an arts administrator. She represented the Galeire nationale du Jeu de Paume in Latin America (1993−99) and became a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) (French division). Leirner has contributed to countless journals and supplements in both countries, including Beaux-Arts Magazine, Europe Magazine Littéraire, Revista da USP, and Cadernos de Literatura Brasileira. She is also on the scholarship committee for UNESCO-Aschberg.
Leirner had the opportunity to participate in a radical change in the organization and framework of the São Paulo Biennial, launched by Professor Walter Zanini in the early 1950s. The 18th Biennial (1985) and the 19th Biennial (1987) offered the chance to coordinate universal themes with local themes. In addition, Leirner was able to address her main interest: giving a more prominent role to the curator [see 1111107 and 1110910].