After his surprise departure from the Berlin Nationgalerie last year, Udo Kittelmann has wound up at the helm of a German private museum. The German outlet Monopol reports that Kittelmann has been selected to be the artistic director of the Museum Frieder Burda, an institution in Baden-Baden devoted to the holdings of the eponymous collector, who died in 2019.
In a statement, Henning Schaper, the museum’s director, said, “He will connect us to the contemporary with a strong curatorial signature—and also seek interdisciplinary dialogue.”
Kittelmann is one of the most closely watched curators in Europe, and he garnered acclaim for his work at the Nationalgalerie, a consortium of six museums that includes the Hamburger Bahnhof and the Neue Nationgalerie. Under his aegis, the Nationgalerie wrapped a €101 million ($122 million) renovation project and opened the Friedrichswerdersche Kirche, a new venue for modern art in Berlin.
“Udo Kittelmann made the Nationalgalerie accessible to everybody,” said Michael Eissenhauer, director-general of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, upon Kittelmann’s departure in October, after 12 years at the helm. The directorship was subsequently divided into three separate posts.
Prior to the Nationalgalerie, Kittelmann had directed the Kölnischer Kunstverein and the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt. He also curated the 2001 Venice Biennale’s German Pavilion, which that year was devoted to Gregor Schneider.
The Museum Frieder Burda opened in 2004 and is considered a destination for German modern and contemporary art. It is home to the collector’s 1,000-piece holdings, which include major works by Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Max Beckmann, Sigmar Polke, and many more. Kittelmann worked closely with Burda during his lifetime.
“He was one of the most important private collectors in Europe,” Kittelmann told ARTnews in a 2019 interview about the institution. “To have this museum, for the future, that’s really something.”