Chris Fitzpatrick ist neuer Direktor des Kunstvereins München

Der Amerikaner Chris Fitzpatrick ist seit 1. Januar der neue Direktor des Kunstvereins München. Nach 5 Jahren löst er damit Bart van der Heide, der als Chefkurator an das Stedelijk Mueseum in Amsterdam wechselt, ab. Der neue Direktor war zuletzt für das Non-Profit Kunstcenter Objectif Exhibitions in Antwerpen tätig.
Wir freuen uns, dass Chris uns heute die ersten Pläne für sein neues Programm vorstellt und sind von seinen Münchner Ausstellungstipps bereits schwer begeistert!

About you?

I’m a 36-year-old contemporary art curator and grew up primarily in San Francisco. I’m American, but for the past 3 years I’ve been the director of Objectif Exhibitions, a not-for-profit contemporary art centre in Antwerp, Belgium. Now I’ve moved to Munich to work with everybody at Kunstverein München, as the new director.

About you and Munich?

I’m still getting to know Munich, and my life will no doubt revolve around the Kunstverein. Yet there is so much to do and see here that I imagine that orbit widening quickly, and getting more elliptical. Particularly once I learn to speak German, and when it stops snowing.

Your Munich, a recommendation?

Lots of things. Glühwein is new to me, so I recommend that—in the snow, in the park. There seem to be strangely well-priced books to be found, here and there. I found quite some out-of-print art books at Buchhandlung J. Kitzinger when I first arrived, for example. If you’re busy, Vini e Panini is an interesting place to ensure you always have dinner, and good wine. Toni’s Stürbel seems to be something of its own alternate dimension in Schwabing. I saw a nice film programme at Lothringer 13_Florida of 8mm films by Margaret Raspe’, projected in their original format, so that programme seems interesting, and actually I want to go back because Lothringer 13 itself is exhibiting Walid Raad’s Atlas Group. The Mark Leckey show at Haus der Kunst is also nice. Actually, the yellow glow of the sodium street lamps reminded me of the Belgian freeways, and cancelled out my eye’s ability to see the other viewers in color. Ólafur Elíasson did something similar years back, but he never auto-tuned the inner thoughts of a Samsung refrigerator, and primacy isn’t an interesting pursuit.

You have been appointed as the new director of Kunstverein München. Are you planning any major changes?

There will of course be a noticeable shift already by April, but I’m also interested in small changes creeping in, slowly, over time. A tiny bookshop, hidden behind a cabinet, for example. Quarterly publications to offer more information about the exhibiting artists, or another vehicle for them, and how they develop each quarter. There is a lot in development right now, but the primary focus will of course remain on presenting exhibitions, supporting artists.

Is there any exciting project you can already tell us about?

Kunstverein München will open a massive exhibition featuring more than 40 years of work by Anne-Mie Van Kerckhoven—video, 16mm film, mixed media, drawing, painting, text, textiles, and more. That will be in April. There’s a sustained sense of urgency to everything she does. Her artistic practice is often referred to as a personal survival mechanism, and it’s true. She was the subject of a scientific study in Belgium that proved that her brain works different, all the time. I’m very much looking forward to showing what that brain has produced over the years. There are well over 100 works on the checklist already.

Do you think Kunstverein München has a special role within the city?

It’s one of the oldest places of its kind, so it’s an important legacy to join. Today I dug up publications in the archive dating from about 1969 to the early 2000s—on Arte Povere, Claude Cahun, Bas Jan Ader, Andre Cadere, Andrea Fraser, Kippenberger, seminal group exhibitions, stacks of Jahresgaben catalogues, and so much more from over the years. And as I’m still getting to know Munich, I’m also still getting to know how Kunstverein München fits into the larger system here, but already at the opening reception of James Richards’ exhibition last week, I met supporting members, art students, publishers, fashion designers, doctors, gallerists, CEOs—from their early 20s to their late 80s, from New York or Istanbul to right around the corner. So today, even after 192 years, the Kunstverein is still as crucial a locus as ever. It’s still rounding out a certain sphere.

Many thanks for the interview!

©Margarita Platis