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Kasper König

Rector, college professor (male), director (male) and curator (male)

1943 in Mettingen


Kasper König is the youngest of six children to grow up around Münster. In 1962 he completed a traineeship at the Rudolf Zwirner Gallery in Cologne. In 1963 he moved to London. There he worked in the galleries Annely Juda and Robert Fraser, and also attended art history lectures at the Courtauld Institute of Art. At Arnold Bode's suggestion, König worked in 1964 as a construction assistant at "documenta 3". In 1965 he travelled to New York as a courier on behalf of the Robert Fraser Gallery, where he lived with interruptions until 1978. From there he worked on exhibition and publication projects for European museums, traded in art, and built up a network that included artists such as Carl Andre, Richard Artschwager, Hanne Darboven, Dan Graham, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. At the New York New School he attended lectures in anthropology. In 1966 König curated his first exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, "Claes Oldenburg". Together with his brother Walther, he founded the Gebrüder König publishing house in Cologne in 1968. From 1973 to 1975 König taught as Associate Professor at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada, and established the publishing house Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design there in 1973, where he published the art book series "Source Materials of the Contemporary Arts". In 1977, at Klaus Bußmann's invitation, he and König initiated the sculpture projects in Münster, which then took place regularly every ten years. In 1978 König returned to Germany with his family and in 1984 he was appointed to the newly founded Chair of Art and the Public at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. From 1988 to 2000 König taught as professor at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, of which he became its headmaster in 1989. As early as 1987 he founded the exhibition hall Portikus, which is affiliated with the Kunsthochschule. König curated numerous thematic exhibitions, including "Aspects of Recent Art from Europe" (Sperone Westwater Fischer Galerie, New York, 1976), "Westkunst. Zeitgenössische Kunst seit 1939" (together with Laszlo Glozer, Rheinhallen, Cologne, 1981), " von hier aus. Zwei Monate neue deutsche Kunst in Düsseldorf" (Hall 13 at Messe Düsseldorf, 1984), "Der zerbrochene Spiegel" (together with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Kunsthalle Wien/Deichtorhallen Hamburg, 1993) and "Sultan's Pool" at the Jerusalem Biennale (1997). In 2000 König was responsible for the art programme of the World Exposition EXPO in Hanover and in 2003 curated the Austrian Pavilion of the "50th Venice Biennale". He also organised numerous monographic exhibitions, including on the work of Andy Warhol (1968), A. R. Penck (1973), On Kawara (1974), Donald Judd (1976), Michael Asher (1976), Gerhard Richter (1993) and Gregor Schneider (1997). Between 2000 and 2012 König was the director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, which was reopened in 2001 with the presentation "Museum unserer Wünsche". During this time individual shows by Isa Genzken and Wolfgang Tillmans (2001/02), Franz West (2009/10) and A. R. Penck (2010/11) were shown, as well as thematic exhibitions such as "Das achte Feld. Geschlechter, Leben und Begehren in der Kunst seit 1960" (with Frank Wagner and Julia Friedrich, 2006) and the sculpture exhibition "Vor dem Gesetz" (2011/12). In 2014 he was curator of the "Manifesta 10" in St. Petersburg and in 2017 he once again took over the artistic direction of the sculpture projects in Münster. He is the editor of numerous publications on modern and contemporary art, including "Der Schatten der Avantgarde" (Ostfildern 2015), "Manifesta 10" (Cologne 2014), "Isa Genzken. Sesam, öffne dich!" (Cologne 2009), "Bruno Gironcoli/Biennale di Venezia 2003" (Cologne 2003), "On Kawara. Wieder und Wider" (Frankfurt am Main 1992), "Franz West, schöne Aussicht" (Frankfurt am Main 1988) and "Franz Erhard Walther. Objekte, benutzen" (Cologne/New York 1968). König has received the Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies/Bard College (2000), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guggenheim Foundation New York (2009) and an honorary doctorate from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax.

Groups and institutions Kasper König belongs to