The Kunstmuseum Basel has made appointments for three positions: Daniel Kurjaković is the new curator of programs, Anita Haldemann will head the Kupferstichkabinett (Department of Prints and Drawings), and Ariane Mensger becomes curator in the Kupferstichkabinett.
In May 2017, Daniel Kurjaković will join the Kunstmuseum Basel’s team in the newly created position of “curator of programs.» An art historian and curator by training, Kurjaković has worked in the art field in various capacities for over twenty years.
He was born in Olten, Switzerland, in 1970 and currently lives in Paris. He studied art history, Slavic languages, and philosophy at the University of Zurich.
Thanks to a career that took him to a variety of institutions around the world, Daniel Kurjaković has a wide network of contacts in Europe, Asia, and the United States as well as extensive experience in cooperating with institutions and a global perspective, key qualifications for his new position.
Kurjaković was curator at Kunstmuseum Luzern, Kunsthof Zürich, CNEAI (Paris), and the Burger Collection (Hong Kong). He also implemented curatorial projects for the New Museum (New York), Fanar Projects (Beirut), Helmhaus Zürich, the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard (Paris), Kunsthalle Zürich, and other institutions. In addition to exhibitions of the work of contemporary artists including Georges Adéagbo, Marie José Burki, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Vittorio Santoro, Annie Lai-kuen Wan, and Lawrence Weiner, he realized inter-institutional research platforms, symposia, performance art and film festivals, and experimental art projects. He founded the journal Torrent. Source Material by Artists and the publishing venture Memory/Cage Editions, which has brought renowned artists and emerging talents together for publication projects. His essays and art-critical writings have appeared in catalogues produced by Kunsthalle Basel, Kunsthall Malmö, Aargauer Kunsthaus, MAMCO Geneva, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel, and other institutions. He has been a regular contributor to various art journals around the world and held several teaching positions, including at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (Paris), the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (Lyon), the Academy of Visual Arts/Baptist University (Hong Kong), the Rijksacademie (Amsterdam), and the Zurich University of the Arts.
Statement Daniel Kurjaković:
«It’s a great honor to be invited to work for the Kunstmuseum Basel, an institution with an extraordinarily rich tradition, and to develop the position of a ‘curator of programs’ in collaboration with my future colleagues and the museum’s team. I look forward to learning a great deal as I organize and implement events that will allow the public and our diverse audience to experience discoveries and experiments in the history of art and in art today. I’m thrilled that I will have the opportunity to support the museum’s efforts to underscore its role as a source of fresh impulses in the local and global cultural ecology, to highlight the transformative potential of art, and to take on the challenges of a dynamically changing society.»
Statement Josef Helfenstein:
«I’m delighted that in Daniel Kurjaković we’ve found someone who is exceptionally well-equipped to sharpen the profile of our programs and events. His work will be key to realizing my vision of the Kunstmuseum Basel as an integrative venue bringing together local audiences as well as international visitors.»
On May 1, Dr. Anita Haldemann will take office as head of the Kupferstichkabinett at the Kunstmuseum Basel, the position formerly held by Christian Müller, who retired in 2015. The Kunstmuseum’s former director, Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, had left this decision to his successor.
Anita Haldemann has been acting head of the Kupferstichkabinett since Müller’s departure. After starting her career in museum work at the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., she joined the Kunstmuseum Basel as a curator in 2002. Since then, she has curated over twenty exhibitions and numerous cabinet presentations of graphic art from the nineteenth century to the present, including internationally acclaimed retrospectives of the drawings of Rosemarie Trockel and Markus Raetz as well as projects showcasing emerging artists such as Michaël Borremans and, most recently, Catharina van Eetvelde. One central focus of her work with the collection has been on exhibitions of nineteenth-century and classic modernist art. She is currently preparing an exhibition of Cézanne’s sketchbooks as well as a new series of presentations of works from the collection.
Anita Haldemann has written numerous essays and exhibition catalogues. She is a regular contributor to scholarly journals and has taught at the Universities of Berne and Basel. She grew up in Berne, where she studied art and architecture history as well as ethnology. A Fulbright Fellowship brought her to Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where she obtained an M. A., and in 2001 she received her doctorate from the University of Berne.
Statement Anita Haldemann:
«I’m taking the helm at the Kupferstichkabinett at a most exciting time: with the new building, the Kunstmuseum Basel under the direction of Josef Helfenstein will devote more space than ever before to graphic art. Making acquisitions, producing exhibitions, and launching research projects that will position the world-renowned collection in the twenty-first century is a challenging mission that I look forward to, knowing that I will have the pleasure of working with a superb team. The Kupferstichkabinett will continue to be a leading institution when it comes to shining a spotlight on the central role graphic art plays in our culture: All eyes on drawing!»
Statement Josef Helfenstein:
«I’m delighted that, after an extensive search and interviews with a number of international candidates, we’ve decided to entrust Anita Haldemann with the direction of the Kupferstichkabinett. She faced strong competitors, and so I’m especially pleased that she’s ready to shoulder the responsibilities of this position. By also creating a permanent position for Ariane Mensger, we uphold the tradition of international competence in the art of the Old Masters at the Kupferstichkabinett—and it’s the first time we have two women in leadership positions.»
On May 1, Dr. Ariane Mensger will succeed Anita Haldemann as curator in the Kupferstichkabinett; her particular responsibility will be the art of the Old Masters, where she succeeds Christian Müller. She has been acting curator since 2015, preparing the exhibition The Enterprise of Hendrick Goltzius, which was on view in the fall of 2016. Her next exhibition, Womanhood—Eros, Power, Morality, and Death around 1500 will open in October 2017.
In 2000, Ariane Mensger obtained a doctorate from the University of Heidelberg, where Prof. Hans Belting was her advisor. Her research has focused on German and Dutch art of the early modern period. She worked at Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe and other institutions; most recently, she was curator at Kunsthalle München. She has also led a number of research and exhibition projects on the art of the copy and other subjects.
Ariane Mensger has published numerous essays and exhibition catalogues, mainly on early modern art and culture north of the Alps. She has also taught at the Universities of Constance, Karlsruhe, Berne, and Cologne.