The curator Okwui Enwezor stepped down Monday from his position as artistic director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich.
The museum stated that he was resigning for health reasons, but did not elaborate. Mr. Enwezor, 54, had served as director of the Haus der Kunst since 2011. Bernhard Spies, the museum’s recently appointed chief executive, and Ulrich Wilmes, its chief curator, will lead the Haus der Kunst until a new artistic director is named.
The influential curator first made his mark in Germany in 2002 as curator of documenta in Kassel presenting a panorama of global art that displaced Europe from its traditional central position, and interwove African, Asian and Latin American art into a cosmopolitan map.
In New York, Enwezor’s major exhibitions include “The Short Century,” a history of modern African art and decolonization movements, seen at MoMA PS1 in 2002; and “Rise and Fall of Apartheid,” an exhibition of South African photographers at the International Center of Photography in 2012. In 2015 he was curator of the Venice Biennale, becoming one of only two people to organize both that show and documenta, Europe’s two leading exhibitions of contemporary art (read C&’s interview with Enwezor here).
At the Haus der Kunst, Mr. Enwezor drew acclaim for “Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965,” an effort to tell a global narrative of art in the two decades after World War II. “There is never an ideal time to say goodbye, but I am receding when the House of Art has achieved an artistic position of strength,” said the 54-year-old to dpa.
Bavaria’s Art Minister Marion Kiechle (CSU), who also chairs the Supervisory Board, thanked Enwezor. Thanks to its excellent exhibition programs, the house has considerably strengthened its international reputation. “Through its curatorial expertise, the institution has received worldwide recognition.”