Okwui Enwezor Steps Down as Director of Munich’s Haus Der Kunst, Citing Health Reasons

artnet News | Henri Neuendorf

The renowned curator Okwui Enwezor has resigned from his role as director of Munich’s Haus Der Kunst for health reasons. The 54-year-old will step down immediately, the Bavarian Ministry of Culture announced today. His contract with the German museum was dissolved on Friday. “There is never an ideal time to say goodbye, but I’m stepping down at a time when the Haus Der Kunst has reached a strong artistic position,” Enwezor told the German press agency DPA. Bavarian culture minister Marion Kiechle, who is also chairman of the institution’s board, praised the exhibition program Enwezor built during his seven-year tenure, which she said significantly strengthened the museum’s international standing.

“Through his curatorial expertise, the institution experienced worldwide renown,” she said in a statement. The country’s preeminent contemporary art institution, which lacks a collection, is located inside what is considered Nazi Germany’s first monumental work of Nazi architecture. When the Nigerian-born curator joined the museum as director in 2011, his appointment—as an African curator leading a museum built by the Nazis—was regarded as highly symbolic. During his tenure, Enwezor developed an innovative and forward-thinking exhibition program that presented a more global version of Modern and contemporary art than is often recounted in history books. Highlights include last year’s “Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945–1965,” a hugely ambitious global survey of the postwar era, and a recent retrospective of the Guyanese-born British painter Frank Bowling.