A year-long search for a director at the Haus der Kunst, a prominent Munich art museum that has been the subject of controversy recently, has come to an end.
Andrea Lissoni, who is currently senior curator at Tate Modern in London, has been named the next leader of the Haus der Kunst. He will begin at the museum on April 1, making him the first person to lead the museum since Okwui Enwezor, who resigned in June of last year, citing “health reasons.” (In March of this year, Enewezor died at age 55 after a long battle with cancer.)
“We have found a convincing personality who is willing to and can face the challenges of the Haus der Kunst in the field of tension between international radiance and local embedding,” Bernd Sibler, the art minister in the state of Bavaria, said in a statement.
The challenges that Lissoni faces are manifold. Over the past couple years, the Haus der Kunst has faced allegations of disorganization and mismanagement. In 2017, the local government launched an official investigation into the museum’s alleged ties to Scientology (the religion is considered anti-democratic in Bavaria), and earlier this year, the museum said it was eliminating or outsourcing 48 jobs. Shows by female artists were canceled and retrospectives for male German painters appeared in their place, causing an uproar, and shortly after leaving, Enwezor famously gave an interview to Der Spiegel (which was translated into English by e-flux) in which he said that the museum was underfunded and that the Bavarian State Government’s very brief comments upon his departure were “an insult.”
“Basically, I do not see myself as a victim of anything,” Enwezor went on to say. “But it is quite conceivable that my origin, even my appearance, leads some to make projections. I observe very well how I am devalued culturally.”
Lissoni was chosen by a committee that included Susanne Gaensheimer, the director of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen; Daniel Birnbaum, the director of Acute Art; Nicholas Serota, the former director of Tate; Doryun Chong, the deputy director and chief curator of M+; and Nina Zimmer, the director of the Museum of Fine Arts Bern and the Paul Klee Center.