Okwui Enwezor leaves Munich′s Haus der Kunst | Arts | DW | 05.06.2018
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Arts

Okwui Enwezor leaves Munich's Haus der Kunst

Munich's Haus der Kunst is facing turbulent times once again, with the resignation of artistic director Okwui Enwezor. What will the future hold for the renowned institution?

Okwui Enwezor, the 54-year-old artistic director of Munich's Haus der Kunst, is stepping down from his role on July 1 for health reasons.

Read more: Okwui Enwezor: Art world should shrink its footprint

Until his successor is found, chief curator Ulrich Wilmes will take over, assisted by recently appointed chief executive Bernhard Spies, who has held the position since April.

Enwezor has headed the Haus der Kunst since 2011.

Right time to go

The Nigerian-born Enwezor gained international renown for his exhibition "African Photographers, 1940-Present" that accompanied the major Africa exhibition of New York's Guggenheim Museum in 1996. In 2002, he headed the documenta 11 in Kassel, and in 2015 he was also curator of the 56th Venice Biennale.

"There's never an ideal time to say goodbye. But I resign at a time when the Haus der Kunst has achieved an artistically strong position," Enwezor said.

Bavaria's Art Minister Marion Kiechle, who also heads the supervisory board, praised Enwezor's contributions. "Thanks to his expertise as a curator, the institution has gained much recognition in the world."

Turbulent times

Last summer, financial problems surfaced for the Haus der Kunst, followed by allegations of sexual molestation and rumors that some staff members were practicing Scientology. The supervisory board reacted by dismissing some employees, and by placing a managing director at Enwezor's side in the fall. At first, this was financial expert Stefan Gros, followed in April by Spies who had earlier headed Bonn's Kunsthalle.

Challenges also lie ahead. From 2020, the building that was erected by the Nazis in 1937 will undergo major restoration, based on plans by British star architect David Chipperfield. As its most important donor, the state of Bavaria will contribute €150 million ($175 million) to the project.

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rbr/sam/ad (dpa, Munzinger Archiv)

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