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Christos Joachimides

Christos Joachimides (1932–2017)

The Greek-born German curator Christos Joachimides has died, according to art historian and curator Sir Norman Rosenthal for the Art Newspaper. “He was nothing if not a controversial figure in the world of art,” wrote Rosenthal, “who both divided opinion and seldom himself sought consensus on matters of aesthetic choices.” 

Joachimides studied in Heidelberg and Stuttgart in 1953 before making Berlin a more permanent home. He traveled quite a bit throughout the 1960s, spending time in Paris and Rome, where he befriended artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Pino Pascali, and Balthus. In Germany he was drawn to Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell, and became especially interested in the painters who showed at Michael Werner Gallery, including Anselm Kiefer, Markus Lüpertz, and A.R. Penck. Joachimides went on to work with Rosenthal at the ICA London. There, they curated two exhibitions together: “Art into Society, Society into Art: Seven German Artists” (1974), where Beuys created a series of daily performances over the course of a month, which ended up becoming the piece Directive Forces, 1974–77; and a festival of contemporary Greek culture, “Eight Artists, Eight Attitudes, Eight Greeks” (1975), organized after the fall of Greece’s military junta. The latter show included Kounellis’s art—its first appearance in the UK. Joachimides also collaborated with Sir Nicholas Serota on an exhibition called “13⁰E: Eleven Artists Working in Berlin” (1978), an exhibition organized through the Whitechapel Art Gallery, which was staged in Germany. At the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Joachimides joined with Serota and Rosenthal on “A New Spirit in Painting” (1981), an exhibition that featured the work of German neo-expressionists such as Georg Baselitz and Kiefer. And at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin, Rosenthal collaborated with Joachimides on “Zeitgeist” (1983) and “Metropolis” (1991), among other exhibitions.

“Those were Christos’s truly great days,” said Rosenthal of their time together. “He expanded our outlook on the world, indeed as Nicholas Serota wrote to me on learning of his death that ‘he expanded our lives and education.’” 

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