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Israel Museum in Jerusalem appoints Rita Kersting as new Contemporary Art Curator
Rita Kersting was director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf.

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum today announced the appointment of Rita Kersting as its new Landeau Family Curator of Contemporary Art. A former director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, and currently working in The Netherlands as a curator of contemporary art, Kersting will begin her new position in Jerusalem on October 10, 2012. The Museum has also announced that Mira Lapidot, who has served as a Curator of Fine Arts and Assistant to the Chief Curator of Fine Arts at the Israel Museum since 2003, has been promoted to become the Yulla and Jacques Lipchitz Chief Curator of Fine Arts, effective immediately. The two positions had been held previously by Suzanne Landau, who will be joining the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in September as its Director and Chief Curator.

“After a careful international search, we are pleased to have found in Rita Kersting a curator of contemporary art who will extend our impressive tradition of engagement with contemporary art and artists worldwide and who will bring to the Museum the kind of international perspective that is so vital to our mission,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “Together with Mira Lapidot as Chief Curator of Fine Arts, we look forward to Rita’s forging new relationships that will only strengthen our already vibrant program in contemporary art around the globe.”

During the past decade, Kersting has curated numerous exhibitions in Germany, including most recently abc—about painting in 2011, which presented 130 international artists represented by 120 galleries at Gleisdreick/Station, Berlin. She also conceived and founded a contemporary collection at the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf and curated the contemporary collection for the Ministry of Culture of North Rhine-Westphalia. Kersting served as director of the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, the oldest art institution in Düsseldorf, from 2001 through 2007, and as a member of the Ankaufskommission für die Kunstsammlung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Acquisition Committee for the State Art Collection of Germany) from 2003 through 2007. During her tenure at the Kunstverein, she oversaw the renovation of the Kunsthalle and curated numerous exhibitions, including Zero Gravity in 2001, a group exhibition which showcased the work of Isa Genzken, Martin Kippenberger, and Wolfgang Tillmans, among others, as well as major solo presentations of such artists as Tacita Dean, Rineke Dijkstra, Sam Durant, and Richard Wright. Kersting received her M.A. in art history from the University of Cologne.

As Curator of Contemporary Art in the Museum’s Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing, Kersting will be responsible for extending the Museum’s cutting-edge contemporary art program, overseeing acquisitions and exhibitions, and sustaining and growing the Museum’s impressive legacy of engagement with artists and collectors worldwide.

“I look forward to continuing the Israel Museum’s commitment to identifying and presenting the work of established and emerging contemporary artists from around the world,” said Kersting. “In the city of Jerusalem, which holds so much history, it is important to continue to look forward and to understand the cultural creativity of the moment in context.”

In conjunction with Kersting’s appointment, the Museum has promoted Mira Lapidot to the position of Chief Curator in the Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing, which encompasses works from across the ages in Western and non-Western cultures, including European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Israeli Art, Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Asian Art, Design and Architecture, Photography, and Prints and Drawings.

Lapidot has worked at the Israel Museum since 1997 in a number of roles, serving most recently as Curator of Fine Arts and Assistant to the Chief Curator of Fine Arts, a position which she held for almost a decade. Lapidot had central responsibility for the logistical planning of the new Fine Arts Wing, including the design of permanent installations and rotating special exhibitions for all of the Fine Arts collections, within the framework of the Museum’s 2010 campus renewal project. She has curated a number of exhibitions at the Museum, including Far and Away: The Fantasy of Japan in Contemporary Israeli Art, in 2006, and Signs of Life, in 2008. Lapidot is currently working on Yehudit Sasportas’ first major museum exhibition in Israel, opening in May 2013. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Lapidot has a joint degree in Chemistry and the History of Art from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she is currently completing a Masters in the History of Art.

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