Director Susanne Gaensheimer
Susanne Gaensheimer is art historian, curator and museum director. Since September 1, 2017 she is the director of Kunstsammlung previously held positions as director of Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (1999−2001) and as Head of Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art and Curator at Lenbachhaus, Munich (2002−2008). For K20 and K21 she has realized exhibitions on Carmen Herrera, Maria Hassabi, Raqs Media Collective, Ai Weiwei, Banu Cennetoğlu, Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso.
From 2009 to 2017 she was director of the Museum für Moderne Kunst, MMK in Frankfurt, where she curated shows on the work of Franz West, Hélio Oiticica (2013), Isa Genzken (2014) or Kader Attia (2016) amongst many others. 2011 and 2013 she curated the German Pavilion of the 54 and 55 Biennial of Venice, presenting Christoph Schlingensief (Golden Lion), and in 2013 Ai Weiwei, Romuald Karmakar, Santu Mofokeng and Dayanita Singh. In 2014 she was responsible for the foundation of a second branch of MMK, the MMK 2. Susanne Gaensheimer teaches at Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-University in Frankfurt, where she has been an honorary professor since 2016. She is editor of and contributor to numerous publications and exhibition catalogues.
History of the Kunstsammlung NRW
In 1961, the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia acquired altogether 88 works by Paul Klee, which form the foundation of the museum’s collection. During his tenure, founding director Werner Schmalenbach (1962-1990) assembled an exceptionally high-quality collection of classical modernist works, creating the sole regional collection in Germany to specialize in modern art.
Schmalenbach’s successor Armin Zweite (1990-2007) expanded the Kunstsammlung Nordhrein-Westfalen, adding numerous works of contemporary art as well as sculpture. He has established an ambitious exhibition programme. Beginning in 2009, Marion Ackermann has served as director until 2016 for K20, K21 and the Schmela Haus. One of her main focusses was the extension of educational programs.