Global Studies. Gastvortrag von Chris Dercon

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Guest lecture: Chris Dercon, Haus der Kunst, München

Chris Dercon was born in Belgium (Lier, 1958). After studying history of art, theatre- and film-theory in the Netherlands he worked from 1981-1983 for the gallery Baronian-Lambert in Ghent. Disappointed with the cynicism of the commercial art world, Dercon started working as a free-lance documentary maker for Belgian Radio and Television (featuring a.o. Nam June Paik, Charles Atlas, Karole Armitage, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jack Goldstein and Paul Virilio). At the same time Dercon started working as a free-lance curator presenting different exhibition-models and curating time based arts, such as presentations in Belgium of Jack Goldstein, Dara Birnbaum and Dan Graham, the DOCH DOCH show in Leuven (1985) and Theatergarden Bestiarium (New York, Sevilla, Poitiers with Rüdiger Schöttle 1987-1989). In 1988 Dercon became program director of PS1 Museum in New York, presenting a.o. work by Helio Oiticica, Franz West, Raymond Hains, Andre Cadere and Paul Thek. In 1990 Dercon became founding director of Witte de with in Rotterdam, presenting a.o work by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lawrence Weiner, Joelle Tuerlinckx, Jef Geys, Allan Sekula, Chen Zhen as well as the first retrospectives of Helio Oiticica and Paul Thek. In 1995 Dercon presented Marlene Dumas in the Dutch pavillon at the Biennial of Venice and was in 1996 responsible for the section 1980-1996 of Face a l’histoire at the Centre Pompidou showing a.o work by Huang Yong Ping. That same year Dercon became director of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, presenting a.o. projects by Jeff Wall, Hans Haacke, Martin Margiela, Hubert Damisch and Richard Hamilton and Sarat Maharaj. In 2003 Dercon moved to Munich to direct the Haus der Kunst there, opening with the exhibition Partners, based on the collection of Ydessa Hendeles, which was the basis for a film by Agnès Varda. Other projects in Munich included exhibitions of a.o. the architects Rem Koolhaas and Herzog&Demeuron. Dercon organized the first large retrospectives of Indian modern painter Amrita Sher-Gil and Chinese multi media artist Ai Wei Wei. His interest in Asian arts, film and design took him to realize interdisciplinary projects for the Haus der Kunst with Yayoi Kusama, Garin Nugroho, Amar Kanwar, Apitchatpong Weerasethakul and upcoming Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto. Chris Dercon has been a juror and author for the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards established by collector Uli Sigg, writing on 2008 winner Taiwanese Tseng Yu-Chin. Dercon published several essays on current cultural issues, such as “Indiana Jones and the Ruin of the Private Museum” which was published in China by the magazine Visual Production. An interview with Chris Dercon on his knowledge of Chinese arts is available on the website of the German Goethe Institute.