Alistair Hudson appointed Chairman of the ZKM | Karlsruhe

On 1 April 2023, Alistair Hudson will assume the position of Artistic-Scientific Chairman of the ZKM l Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. The decision was announced on Monday by the Foundation Board.

2 mins read
18 July 2022, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Karlsruhe: The British curator and museum director Alistair Hudson, new artistic director of the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) Photo: Profimedia

The 53-year-old Briton will succeed Prof. Peter Weibel, who has headed the ZKM since 1999. Besides being in charge of scientific and artistic management, the Chairman is responsible for the conceptual development and strategic course of the Foundation.

“It is a real honour to be able to take on this role at ZKM, which has now established itself as one of the principle cultural institutions in the world right now. Most of all, I see it as one of the most relevant centres of the arts and sciences, carving out new horizons as the world changes with exponential speed. It is this which excites me, to continue the work creating a place to convene new thinking, a gravitational centre of ethical propositions, that could have real impact on the trajectory of human and non-human activity in the coming century”, Alistair Hudson declared.

”I see a future for ZKM continuing to expand as a key voice in an international conversation about where we go next as a society, in an age of exponential change and how we calibrate the ethics and aesthetics of a future that we do not know yet. This will involve opening up the institution more and more to new net- works, communities, partnerships and expertise. ZKM will work locally for communities of the region and internationally, as part of a solutions-focussed agenda for the planet”,, said Hudson in a statement.

Alistair Hudson is a curator and museum director with broad-ranging international experience. He combines contemporary curatorial expertise with a profound knowledge of media arts. Since 2018 he has served as director of two museums in Manchester: the Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth. The latter is the museum of the University of Manchester, with collections in art and cultural history encompassing all genres.

Alistair Hudson’s concept of a useful museum envisions artistic institutions and cultural institutions as centres of social responsibility and transformation. He believes that they should be run artistically, as works in progress in their own right. Together with the artist Tania Bruguera he heads the Asociación de Arte Útil, a growing international network which collaborates with other institutions such as the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven and FRAC Poitou-Charentes.

Hudson is a member of many panels. For example, he is on the jury for the Turner Prize and a member of the selection committee for the British pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2021.

In 1994, after completing his studies in art history, he went to work for the prestigious Anthony d’Offay Gallery in London. From 2000 he served as curator for the Government Art Collection, where he gained a deep understanding of the role of public collections. From 2004 he was vice director of Grizedale Arts, an art institution in north-west England’s Lake District, and from 2014 he served as director of the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, which has an outstanding collection reaching from the 19th century to the present. His activities generated considerable public attention for both institutions.

Last year, a controversy arose as the result of an exhibition by the British research agency Forensic Architecture (London). Presented by Alistair Hudson in the Whitworth and titled Cloud Studies, it called attention to the effects of state violence on ecological systems around the world, including locations in Beirut, Louisiana and Palestine. The presentation had been coproduced on behalf of ZKM for the exhibition Critical Zones. The Science and Politics of Landing on Earth, which ran from May 2020 to January 2022 in Karlsruhe. Cloud Studies was additionally presented in the UTS Gallery in Sydney, and currently it is being shown at the Berlin Academy of Arts as part of the Berlin Biennale. In Manchester the organisation UK Lawyers for Israel publicly protested the presentation. With broad support from cultural and community partners, he sought a dialogue with various parties and supplemented the controversial exhibition with texts from representatives of both positions.

Although Alistair Hudson’s career has taken him to many stations in England, he sees himself as a true European. European culture and philosophy have shaped him profoundly, inspiring him to collaborate with many institutions in Europe and beyond. His methods have focused on the relationships between culture, society, politics and technical progress – originally in the context of Britain’s industrial revolution and Empire, but today extending to interactions with our digitalised environment. (ZKM)

Join Our Mailing List

[contact-form-7 id="9206" title="Sidebar Newsletter"]