Udo Kittelmann, the director of Berlin’s Nationalgalerie, will leave his post in 2020 after 12 years, according to a statement released today by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
In his role, Kittelmann oversees five Berlin museums—Alte Nationalgalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum Berggruen and Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg. The foundation’s statement said that Kittelmann does not wish to renew his contract when it expires on 31 October 2020.
The foundation praised Kittelmann’s “creative, curious, self-confident and self-critical” approach which never sought to please a mainstream audience and instead aimed for “social relevance and critical intervention”. Kittelman, who was formerly the director of the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, has also helped to raise the Nationalgalerie’s profile internationally, said Hermann Parzinger, the president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
Under Kittelmann’s watch, exhibitions at the Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art museum have included solo shows of Thomas Demand, Carsten Höller, Gerhard Richter and Otto Piene as well as lesser-known international artists such as Taryn Simon, Hilma af Klint and Jack Whitten. A current exhibition that aims to dispel myths surrounding Emil Nolde’s career and art in the Third Reich has attracted more than 120,000 visitors.
Kittelmann has also been involved in managing the renovation of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Alte Nationalgalerie building and the plans for a new museum of 20th-century art to be built next to it.