In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen presents an online symposium devoted to the future of museums of modern and contemporary art. Over the course of two evenings, a program of lectures will honor the legacy of K20’s founding director Werner Schmalenbach (1920–2020), contextualize its history and origin, and highlight the ways in which we aim to rethink the presentation of the collection today. “Schmalenbach compiled an outstanding collection of 20th century art and our task today is to analyze and broaden ‘his’ perspective on modernism,” says Susanne Gaensheimer, who has headed the museum since 2017.
Like the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, every museum is built on a unique foundation, cares for a specific collection of art, and acts within its own social field. However, museums all face similar challenges today: How can they remain relevant to our cultural life? How should they operate in the future? How can they embrace plurality and a more global perspective? Joined by internationally renowned curators, artists, and thinkers the online symposium takes individual museum histories as vantage points to initiate a discussion about the power and legacy of the Western canon, the need for public and civic spaces, and the role of museums in times of digitization and globalization.
The online symposium will be broadcast via YouTube and the website of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Registration is not required, and viewing is free of charge. Following the live broadcast, the digital talks will be available on our website.
Learn more about the ideas behind Rethinking the Collection.