Rein Wolfs. Photo: Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen.

Rein Wolfs to Lead Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum

The supervisory board of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam announced today that Rein Wolfs has been named its next director. Wolfs comes to the institution from the Bundeskunsthalle, the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn, Germany, which he joined in 2013. He succeeds Beatrix Ruf, who stepped down amid controversy over alleged conflicts of interest in October 2017—a subsequent investigation found that the allegations were unsubstantiated—and will assume his responsibilities in December.

“We are delighted that Rein will be joining the Stedelijk,” said Truze Lodder, chair of the supervisory board. “As a director, he embodies the qualities the Stedelijk Museum seeks: a deep knowledge of art and, in a broad sense, administrative experience, international charisma, a worldwide network, excellent relationships with artists, an exciting artistic vision, and openness to ideas from staff and collaborative partners.” She added that inclusion and diversity are “high on his agenda.”

Wolfs, an art-world veteran who has worked in the cultural sector in Germany and Switzerland for more than thirty years, previously served as artistic director of the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, head of exhibitions at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, and director of the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art in Zurich. He also curated the Dutch pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2003. During his tenure at the Bundeskunsthalle, Wolfs organized exhibitions of work by Kazimir Malevich, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Hanne Darboven, Katharina Sieverding, and Marina Abramović; the first retrospective of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld; an overview of choreographer Pina Bausch; a presentation on comics, manga, and graphic novels; a show with and about people with Down syndrome; and a selection of the controversial art collection of the Nazi art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt.

Commenting on his new position, Wolfs said: “I grew up with the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and I hope to provide the guidance and support needed to lead this museum, with its revolutionary history and fantastic collection, into the future. . . . At the museum, one of the questions we must always address is, ‘Who does the museum belong to?’ Our exhibitions, debates, and activities are opportunities to answer this and many other burning questions.”