Wulf Herzogenrath

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Wulf Herzogenrath (born March 23, 1944 in Rathenow , Mark Brandenburg ) is a German art historian and curator . He is considered a leading specialist in video art and Bauhaus .


From 1963 , Herzogenrath studied art history , archeology and folklore in Kiel, Berlin and Bonn. In 1967 and 1968 he edited the basic exhibition catalog “50 Years of Bauhaus ” for the Württembergischer Kunstverein . In 1970 he received his doctorate at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn under Herbert von Eine on the murals by Oskar Schlemmer . Then in 1970/71 he found a job at the Museum Folkwang in Essen and headed the Kunstring Folkwang eV

In 1973, at the age of 28, Herzogenrath was appointed the youngest director of an art association to date . He headed the Kölnischer Kunstverein for 17 years until 1989. During this time he was also a lecturer for art education at the Cologne Werkschulen (FH for Art and Design). In 1977 he was in charge of video art for Documenta 6 . He also curated exhibitions for the Institute for Foreign Relations (IfA) Stuttgart, a. a. the 15-part series 150 Years of Photography in Germany .

In 1980 Herzogenrath and a few colleagues founded the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine (ADKV), whose first chairman he was for ten years. From 1983 to 1997 Herzogenrath was deputy spokesman for the International Art Exhibition Director Conference (IKT). In 1987 Manfred Schneckenburger appointed him to the management team of Documenta 8 .

In 1989 he was appointed head curator at the Nationalgalerie Berlin to look after the new Museum für Gegenwart in the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. In September 1994, Herzogenrath accepted the appointment as director of the Kunsthalle Bremen , also due to the differences with the art dealer Heiner Bastian. Since 1995 he has also been an honorary professor at the University of the Arts in Bremen . In 2006, Herzogenrath was elected a member of the Fine Arts section of the Berlin Academy of the Arts . Since 2007 he has been chairman of the jury of the Kaiserring of the city of Goslar. As a member of the University Council of the University of Fine Arts Braunschweig since 2003, Herzogenrath became its chairman in 2008. In the same year he also became a member of the board of trustees for the new Bauhaus Museum in Weimar . On October 31, 2011, Herzogenrath ended his full-time activity after successfully completing the modernization and expansion of the Kunsthalle Bremen on August 20, 2011. In 2012, the members of the Fine Arts section of the Berlin Academy of the Arts elected him to be their honorary director.

Wulf Herzogenrath is married and has six children. He lives as a freelance curator and author in Berlin and Cologne .

Curatorial work

As director of the Kölnischer Kunstverein , Herzogenrath conceived the first European solo exhibition of the video art pioneer Nam June Paik in 1976 . He played a key role in the design of Documenta 6 (1977), where he was responsible for video art, and Documenta 8 (1987). He worked with Vittorio Fagone, Bruce Ferguson, Kathy Huffmann, Keigo Yamamoto , Barbara London, Wolfgang Preikschat , Dorine Mignot, René Pulfer and Biljana Tomić.

As the chief curator of the Nationalgalerie Berlin, Herzogenrath was able to acquire numerous works and early works by Marie Jo Lafontaine , Bill Viola , Wolf Vostell , Nam June Paik and early media art for the museum collection.

At his instigation and with the help of the Federal Cultural Foundation , the project 40jahrevideokunst.de took place in 2006 , in which 59 historical and current video tapes from 1963 to today, simultaneously in five museums, including the Kunsthalle Bremen, the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus , Munich and the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig . The works are now temporarily accessible in the archives of various collections and institutions.

As director of the Kunsthalle Bremen, Herzogenrath organized numerous special exhibitions on media art and on the Bremen collection focus “Art around 1900”, including the 1999 retrospective of video art pioneer Nam June Paik , 2000 Der Blaue Reiter , 2002/03 Van Gogh: Felder , 2005/06 Monet and Camille - portraits of women in impressionism or 2007/08 Paula in Paris .

For the Akademie der Künste Berlin, Herzogenrath curated the following exhibitions, A Year from Monday. 365 days of cage, 2012 and vertigo of reality - participation, video closed circuits - how does the viewer get into the picture, 2015, for the Martin-Gropius-Bau William Kentridge NO IT IS!, 2016 (Verlag Walther König, Cologne).


  • 50 years of bauhaus. Württembergischer Kunstverein, 1968.
  • Space, Time, Silence: Exhibition on the Year of the Romanesque Churches in Cologne: Josef Albers, Joseph Beuys, John Cage, Carl Gustav Carus, Marcel Duchamp, Jannis Kounellis, René Magritte, Kasimir Malewitsch, La Monte Young / Marian Zazeela, Barnett Newman, Nam June Paik, Arnulf Rainer, Odilon Redon, Mark Rothko, Reiner Ruthenbeck, Georges Seurat. Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne 1985.
  • with Johann-Karl Schmidt (Ed.): Dix. For the 100th birthday 1891–1991. Cantz, Stuttgart 1992, ISBN 3-7757-0335-7 .
  • with Andreas Kreul : Nam June Paik. There is no rewind button for life. Dumont, 2007, ISBN 978-3-8321-7780-5 .
  • with Andreas Kreul: Sounds of the Inner Eye: John Cage, Mark Tobey and Morris Graves. University of Washington Press, Seattle 2002, ISBN 0-295-98274-8 .
  • with Andreas Kreul, Uwe Goldstein and Katerina Vatsella : Tomma Wember . 3 words only or four. Catalog. Hauschild, Bremen 2002, ISBN 3-89757-159-5 .
  • with Edith Decker: video sculpture retrospectively and currently 1963–1989. DuMont, Ostfildern 1989, ISBN 3-7701-2313-1 .
  • with Gabriele Lueg (ed.): The 60s Cologne's way to the art metropolis, From happening to art market. Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne 1986, OCLC 165706222 .
  • Video art of the 1960s in Germany. Kunsthalle Bremen, 2006, OCLC 85260324 .
  • with Barbara Nierhoff-Wielk (Ed.): "John Cage and ..." Visual artist - influences, suggestions. Dumont, Cologne 2012, ISBN 978-3-8321-9444-4 .
  • with Anke Hervol and Johannes Odenthal (on behalf of the Akademie der Künste ed.): Schwindel derreality - closed-circuit video installations and participation. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2015, ISBN 978-3-86335-762-7 .
  • "The bauhaus doesn't exist". With a contribution by Stefan Kraus , a foreword by Wolfgang Holler and photographs from the estate of Ruth Hollós and Erich Consemüller . From: Wewerka Archive , Magdeburg and Alexander Verlag , Berlin 2019, ISBN 978-3-89581-494-5 .
  • Energies | Synergies 15: Wulf Herzogenrath in conversation with Peter Moritz Pickshaus. Bielefeld, Essen, Cologne and much more. The 1970s and 80s. Foreword by Walter Grasskamp , Walther König bookstore, Cologne 2019.


  • Bremen Medal for Art and Science (2011).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Biography at the Goethe Institute
  2. Since 2012 director of the AdK visual arts section
  3. documenta 8 catalog: Volume 1: Essays; Volume 2: Catalog page 312; Volume 3: artist book; Kassel 1987, ISBN 3-925272-13-5 .
  4. ^ Biographical information Wulf Herzogenrath , Goetheinstitut, accessed April 1, 2014.
  5. Vita of Wulf Herzogenrath
  6. Wulf Herzogenrath. WorldCat.org, accessed February 16, 2020 .