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Moderna Museet Director Daniel Birnbaum Steps Down to Helm New VR Company

Swedish curator Daniel Birnbaum, who has led Stockholm’s Moderna Museet for the past eight years, is leaving his post to join a new virtual and augmented reality company, Acute Art. Birnbaum will move to London, where the company is based, and will take up his post next year.

Established in 2017 by the Swedish art collector Gerard De Geer and his son Jacob De Geer, Acute Art has built virtual reality experiences of artworks ranging from Christo and Jean-Claude’s London Mastaba, the five-hundred-ton floating trapezoidal structure that debuted in London’s Hyde Park last month, to Marina Abramović’s Rising, a virtual space where viewers can witness rising sea levels. The company has also worked with artists such as Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, and Jeff Koons.

Acute Art is also a research hub and curatorial laboratory, which is committed to giving artists access to cutting-edge technologies and exploring new ways to reach audiences with digital art. As head of the company, Birnbaum will be charged with commissioning new works and overseeing the organization’s exhibition program.

“We are proud to welcome Daniel Birnbaum to Acute Art, and look forward to this exciting next phase for the company,” Jacob De Geer, Acute Art’s CEO, said in a statement. “Daniel’s experience and creative vision is second to none, at once lucid, experimental, and brave. His appointment to this newly created role will guide our work, as we focus on developing our curated offer of the best digital art. Under Daniel’s leadership we will also continue to research and collaborate closely with artists, helping to expand the creative possibilities for technology in artistic practice.”

Birnbaum has been the director of Moderna Museet since 2010. Previously, he helmed Frankfurt’s prestigious art academy Städelschule, whose recent graduates have included Tomás Saraceno, Danh Vo, and Anne Imhof. Birnbaum was artistic director of the Fifty-Third Venice Biennale in 2009 and curated the first and second editions of the Moscow Biennial in 2005 and 2007 and the Yokohama Triennial in 2008. He also judged the Turner Prize in 2008 and has been a contributing editor to Artforum since 1998.

Commenting on his new role, Birnbaum said: “I have had the great privilege to lead one of the best art schools, an exemplary museum of modern art and the most legendary of biennials. It is therefore a good moment to leave the old institutional world and move into an unknown territory. Acute Art is a new kind of institution and is fast-becoming a leader in the field of art and technology. This move marks an adventure, a journey in to the future. There is a voracious appetite for technology in the arts and I am curious to see what artists will do with these visual technologies.”