Nicolaus Schafhausen has been appointed as new artistic director of KUNSTHALLE wien. The position had been internationally advertised, and Schafhausen was selected out of 66 candidates. Nicolaus Schafhausen will take up his new position at KUNSTHALLE wien on 1 October 2012, where he has been appointed for a five-year term.
“With Nicolaus Schafhausen we have succeeded in bringing one of Europe’s most successful artistic director, curator, and manager to Vienna,” says Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, Executive City Councillor for Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna. “He has shown in many ways that he has an eye for new developments and an instinct for new talent, and that he is able to promote them accordingly. He has headed several art institutions in the past and has the necessary leadership skills and experience for the position at KUNSTHALLE wien.”
“I very much look forward to the challenge of providing the renowned KUNSTHALLE wien with a new profile. With its vital art scene, its many art institutions, and its open and very active audience, Vienna is a productive platform for contemporary art, its problems, and ideas,” says Nicolaus Schafhausen.
Nicolaus Schafhausen studied art history at the Technische Universität Berlin and at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. Before starting his career as a curator, Nicolaus Schafhausen worked as an artist. In 1991, during a scholarship at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, he founded the gallery Lukas & Hoffmann together with the artist Markus Schneider. The gallery later moved to Cologne.
From 1995 to 1998 Schafhausen served as artistic director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, and from 1999 to 2005 as director of the Frankfurter Kunstverein. From 2003 to 2005 he was a curator at the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art in Helsinki (NIFCA). From 2005 to 2007 he was the founding director of the European Kunsthalle, an initiative to establish a new art institution in Cologne. From 2006 to 2012 he headed the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam. Nicolaus Schafhausen was the curator of the German Pavilion for the 52nd and the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2009.
He was co-curator of the first Brussels Biennale in 2008 and co-curator of 2010 Media City Seoul festival. He was curator of the Dutch House at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, and, among others, also curated exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Lenbachhaus in Munich, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, and the Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) in Vilnius. Schafhausen was collection advisor for the FRAC Nord – Pas de Calais, Dunkerque; DekaBank; and Lufthansa AG, Frankfurt. Nicolaus Schafhausen is also a lecturer at the Higher Institute for Fine Arts in Ghent. In addition to Schafhausen’s extensive experience in leading institutions and curating exhibitions, he is author and editor of numerous publications on contemporary art.
Currently, Schafhausen is the strategic director of Fogo Island Arts, an initiative of the Canadian Shorefast Foundation (shorefast.org) that carries out a resident programme on the island of Fogo in Newfoundland and engages in a dialogue with artists and scientists to find alternative solutions for the revitalisation of the area that is prone to emigration.