Dr Susanne Gaensheimer, born in Munich in 1967, is director of the Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf.
Following her studies of art in Munich and Hamburg, Gaensheimer completed the Independent Study Programme of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York from 1995 to 1996. She completed her PhD in art history in 1977 with a thesis on ‘Sexuality and destruction. Aspects of violence in the work of Bruce Nauman´.
As a freelance curator, Gaensheimer conceived and organized several exhibition projects including “Blind Date” (in collaboration with the Kulturreferat München, the Volksbühne Berlin, the Kunsthalle Malmö and IASPIS in Stockholm; Munich 1997/1998). After working as an academic assistant for the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich (1998-1999), during which period she curated numerous exhibitions, including “Geschichten des Augenblicks” (Tales of a moment) with Douglas Gordon, Steve Mc Queen, Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas and others, Gaensheimer was director of the Westfälischer Kunstverein Münster from 1999 to 2001, where she not only curated solo exhibitions with Liam Gillick, Elizabeth Peyton, Rodney Graham, Olaf Nicolai, Tobias Rehberger and Harun Farocki but also group exhibitions such as “real places?” (2000) with Andrew Cross, Graham Gussin, Andreas Hofer, Jacqueline Jeffries, Reinigungsgesellschaft and others.
From 2001 to 2008, Gaensheimer was manager and curator of the collection for contemporary art at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus in Munich. There she conceived, among others, the following exhibitions:
- James Coleman (2002)
- “Jeppe Hein, Raum in Bewegung/Bewegung im Raum” (2002*)
- Thomas Demand (2002/2003)
- Michael Sailstorfer (2002*)
- “Olafur Eliasson. Sonne statt Regen” (2003, 2006)
- “Maria Eichhorn. Restitutionspolitik” (‘Restitution politics’, 2003/2004)
- “Isa Genzken. Empire Vampire” (2004*)
- David Claerbout (2004/2005)
- “Favoriten. Neue Kunst in München” (with Martin Fengel, Franka Kassner, Florian Süssmayer, Claudia Wieser, Martin Wöhrl and others, 2005)
- “Andreas Hofer. Welt ohne Ende” (2005)
- “Bühne des Lebens – Rhetorik des Gefühls” (with Michael Beutler, Matias Faldbakken, Henrik Plenge Jacobsen, Jasper Just, Benny Nemerowsky Ramsay, De Rijke/De Rooij, Mark Raidpere, Markus Schinwald, Sarah Morris, Isa Genzken, Romuald Karmakar and others, 2006)
- “Cerith Wyn Evans. Whenever something happens again for the very first time” (2006/2007)
From 2009 to 2017 Gaensheimer was director of the Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt/Main. Susanne Gaensheimer curated the German pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 2011, which was awarded the Golden Lion as the best national pavilion. She also curated the German pavilion in 2013.
Since 2012 she is member of the acquisition committee of the Federal collection of contemporary art, of the curatorial board of the MUMOK, Vienna, and (since 2013) of the Turner Prize jury.
Susanne Gaensheimer’s curatorial activities are regularly accompanied by publications and lectures.