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Haus der Kunst. Photo: Dan Wojcik. Courtesy of Haus der Kunst.
Haus der Kunst. Photo: Dan Wojcik. Courtesy of Haus der Kunst.

Andrea Lissoni to Lead Munich’s Embattled Haus der Kunst

The Haus der Kunst (HdK) in Munich, which has not had a director since the late Nigerian curator and art historian Okwui Enwezor stepped down because of health reasons in 2018, announced that Andrea Lissoni, a senior curator of international art at Tate Modern, has been hired as its next artistic director. The Bavarian minister of the arts, Bernd Sibler, who is also chair of the museum’s supervisory board, announced the appointment at a press conference in Munich earlier today.

Sibler praised Lissoni’s expertise in modern and contemporary art and experience leading arts institutions. He also said that Lissoni knows and is willing to face the challenges that beset the noncollecting museum and is the right person to build on its international reputation and position within the local community. HdK has been under scrutiny since it canceled two major exhibitions of artists Joan Jonas and Adrian Piper, allegedly due to financial concerns. Since then, it has been sued for religious discrimination, and management revealed that the institution’s part-time workforce would be cut by two thirds.

As the search for a new leader was underway, an expert commission comprising Bice Curiger, artistic director of the Vincent van Gogh Foundation; Achim Hochdörfer, director of the Brandhorst Museum; and collector and curator Ingvild Goetz was formed to support HdK’s curatorial team. Bernhard Spies, an experienced crisis manager, also joined the museum’s team in 2018 to assist with finances.

In addition to inheriting previous budgetary concerns and staffing and programming issues, Lissoni, an Italian-born curator who is fluent in German, will be responsible for steering HdK through its upcoming David Chipperfield–designed renovation, which is slated to start next year.

Commenting on his new role, which he will start on April 1, 2020, Lissoni said: “The vision that I am developing for HdK is based on a central force: to share the significance of contemporary art and culture in an interdisciplinary way and in an open, original, visionary, inviting and optimistic way.” He added that he hopes that HdK “can continue to assert itself as a true home of the arts, with art for me being the indispensable, passionate and driving force of change.”

Previously, Lissoni served as a curator at Milan’s Pirelli HangarBicocca, where he organized exhibitions by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Mike Kelley, Ragnar Kjartansson, Wilfredo Prieto, Tomás Saraceno, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, from 2011 to 2015, and taught at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera and at Bocconi University in Milan. During his tenure at Tate Modern, which he joined in 2014, Lissoni launched an annual cinema program and curated the Joan Jonas exhibition, which was supposed to travel to HdK in November 2018.

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