The Haus der Kunst in Munich. Photo by Fred Romero, via Flickr.
As the Haus der Kunst (HdK) in Munich continues to struggle financially, its employees now fear mass dismissal, according to a new report from Süddeutsche Zeitung. The report says that as many as 48 jobs at the institution—including cashiers, gatekeepers, and supervisors—could be outsourced or even eliminated outright. According to Artforum, Bernhard Spies, who was brought on as commercial director of the HdK in 2018 with the goal of helping the institution curb its deficit, said HdK nearly went bankrupt as a result of financial mismanagement, and that there is still work to be done if it hopes to become financially sustainable.
HdK suffered a string of negative press in 2018 when it announced it would cancel the Adrian Piper retrospective that was travelling to Munich from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, citing “a difficult financial situation stemming from management errors of the past.” This came only months after the HdK cancelled a show of works by Joan Jonas, also presumably due to funding issues. The brunt of the backlash followed the announcement late last year that HdK would replace these two shows of pioneering female artists with an exhibition by Markus Lüpertz, a German male artist who’s represented by Michael Werner—a gallerist who was a major lender to the HdK at the time.
Also in 2018, the esteemed curator Okwui Enwezor (who died in 2019) resigned his post at the HdK due to health reasons, but stated that the institution’s “intellectual direction” had been replaced by “illiberal and non-transparent decisions.” (Some speculated that a scandal surrounding Scientologists working at the museum may have contributed to his departure.)