Munich’s Troubled Haus der Kunst Names Andrea Lissoni, Formerly of Tate Modern, as Its New Artistic Director

Lissoni fills the longstanding gap left by the museum's former director, the late Okwui Enwezor.

22 October 2019, Bavaria, Munich: Andrea Lissoni is introduced as the new director of the Haus der Kunst at a press conference. The position has been vacant since the departure of long-time director Okwui Enwezor in the summer of 2018. A finding commission was tasked with finding a successor. The position is to be filled from April 2020. Photo: Peter Kneffel/dpa (Photo by Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Andrea Lissoni is introduced as the new director of the Haus der Kunst at a press conference in Munich. Photo by Peter Kneffel/picture alliance via Getty Images.

The Haus der Kunst in Munich has appointed curator Andrea Lissoni to be its new artistic director, filling a position that has been vacant for more than a year since Lissoni’s predecessor, the late Okwui Enwezor, stepped down in 2018.

For the past five years, Lissoni has been a senior curator at Tate Modern where he specialized in film and international contemporary art.

Haus der Kunst, which does not have a permanent collection and relies on traveling shows, has been beset by financial woes that have led to the cancellation of two major exhibitions—by Joan Jonas and Adrian Piper—in the past year. In an odd twist, Lissoni was the curator of the acclaimed Jonas show at the Tate that was set to travel to Haus der Kunst.

Bernd Sibler, the art minister in the state of Bavaria who is also chairman of the supervisory board of the Haus der Kunst, announced the appointment at a press conference today. Sibler praised Lissoni as a leader who could withstand the challenges faced by the Munich museum and balance its international programming with the local community.

Haus der Kunst, Munich. Courtesy Haus der Kunst.

Haus der Kunst, Munich. Courtesy of Haus der Kunst.

“The vision that I am developing for the Haus der Kunst is based on a central force: to share the significance of contemporary art and culture in an interdisciplinary way and in an open, original, visionary, inviting, and optimistic way,” Lissoni said at the press conference. He added that he hopes the institution “can continue to assert itself as a true home of the arts, with art for me being the indispensable, passionate, and driving force of change”.

Lissoni, who was born in Milan and is fluent in German, takes up the new position on April 1. Prior to his work at Tate, he led the Hangar Bicocca in Milan and co-founded the social network Xing. He holds a degree from the University of Pavia and a PhD from the University of Udine.

He is “particularly well-versed in the international scene of interdisciplinary artistic creation,” said a joint statement from Ingvild Goetz, Achim Hochdörfer, and Bice Curiger, who served on the selection committee. “This aspect seems important when it comes to looking to the future, attracting new young audiences, and taking up the challenge of contemporary cultural change.”

Among the numerous challenges Lissoni will inherit is a planned renovation by British architect David Chipperfield, which is supposed to begin next year. The renovation is aimed at creating space for film, performance, and musical events.


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