Home Magazine The unexpected waiver of Okwui Enwezor to the Haus der Kunst in Munich

The Nigerian critic is leaving his position as artistic director of Haus der Kunst in Munich, Germany. The museum stated that he was resigning for health reasons, but some haze remains.

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The last comment before his departure:

There is never an ideal time to leave, but i am stepping down when the Haus der Kunst is in an artistic position of strength. It has been a great privilege to lead this exceptional institution and work with such a dedicated and talented team.


Okwui Enwezor (54 year-old) had served as director of the Haus der Kunst since 2011. In 2015 he was the artistic director of 56th Venice Biennale, in addition he has curated and co-curated numerous ground-breaking exhibitions around the world including: 7th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, 2008; Documenta 11, Kassel 2002; P.S.1 and Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001. He received the Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York in 2009.

In the statement announcing his departure, the timing of which was not made clear, Marion Kiechle, as chairwoman of the museum’s supervisory board, said: Thanks to Okwui Enwezor’s outstanding exhibition program, Haus der Kunst’s international reputation has been considerably strengthened. As a result of his curatorial expertise, the institution has received worldwide recognition.


Chiharu Shiota, The Key in the Hand, Japan Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale  2015
Chiharu Shiota, The Key in the Hand, Japan Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale  2015


Among the most important shows we can remember: “The Short Century” a history of modern African art and decolonization movements, seen at MoMA PS1 (2002); “Rise and Fall Of Apartheid” at the International Center of Photography (2012), dedicated to South African photographers; the 56th Venice Biennale “All the World’s Future” (2015) and also Documenta XI (2011), both in a rule of curator.  At the Haus der Kunst, Enwezor drew acclaim for Postwar: "Art Between the Pacific and Atlantic", 1945-1965” an effort to tell a global narrative of art in the two decades after World War II. Established names like Jackson Pollock and Frank Stella hung alongside artists from Iran, Mozambique, China and Mexico.


The postcolonial constellation is the site for expansion of the definition of that constitutes contemporary culture and its affiliations in other domains of practice, the intersection of historical forces aligned against the hegemonic imperatives of imperial discourse. (Okwui Enwezor, The Postcolonial Constellation: Contemporary Art in a State of Permanent Transition, in “Research of African Literatures”, vol. 34, University of Pittsburgh, Winter 2003.)


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