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Christoph Heinrich is New Curator of Denver Art Museum
Christoph Heinrich. © Walford/Dunkelberg.

DENVER, CO.- The Denver Art Museum (DAM) announced today the appointment of Christoph Heinrich as the Polly and Mark Addison Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. He will replace founding curator Dianne Vanderlip, who will retire on January 12, 2007. Heinrich, who is chief curator of contemporary art, collection and exhibitions at Hamburg Kunsthalle in Germany, will officially begin his new position in September 2007, but will travel to Denver frequently in the coming months.

Heinrich has organized more than 40 exhibitions during his 12-year curatorial career and brings to Denver a vast range of experience with artists, collectors and museums. His extensive experience in exhibition development and his knowledge of the international contemporary art community made him the top choice for the seven-member selection committee. “This appointment is an important moment for the Denver Art Museum,” said Museum Director Lewis Sharp. “Dianne built an outstanding program in her nearly thirty years here and I look forward to working with Christoph as we expand this scope of our collections and programming.”

During the past three decades, the DAM’s department of modern and contemporary art has built an important collection from around the world, including painting, sculpture, photography, video art, and installations. The new Frederic C. Hamilton Building enables the DAM’s commitment to exhibit more contemporary art by dedicating major spaces on two floors to that collection. Occupying more than 17,000 square feet in the new Daniel Libeskind-designed building, the Museum’s modern and contemporary holdings are a centerpiece within the new complex.

“I was instantly caught up by the energy of the DAM,” said Heinrich. “Enthusiastic and dedicated staff, a wonderful collection with an international reputation, a vibrant local arts community, big ambitions for future development—and all this right next to some of America’s most sublime nature. What more could you want?”

Heinrich spent the last 12 years at the Hamburg Kunsthalle, a museum that also underwent an expansion to develop a permanent space for modern and contemporary art. During his time at the museum, Heinrich organized several important exhibitions, including most recently, Daniel Richter—A Major Survey (2007); Mahjong. Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection (2006); Return to Space featuring Björn Dahlem, Damien Hirst, William Kentridge, Bjørn Melhus, Aleksandra Mir, Matthew Ritchie and others (2005); Francis Bacon—the Portraits (2005); Storytellers, featuring Gregory Crewdson, Peter Doig, Dasha Shishkin, Neo Rauch, Ena Swansea and others; and Mona Hatoum (major survey) (2004). His show Andy Warhol—Photography has been shown in Hamburg, the Andy Warhol Museum Pittsburgh, and the ICP, New York (1999).

Heinrich has worked extensively on written publications, including: Family Values. Amerikanische Kunst der achtziger und neunziger Jahre / American Art in the Eighties and Nineties (1997) and Strategien des Erinnerns. Der veränderte Denkmalbegriff in der Kunst der achtziger Jahre (Strategies of Remembrance. Form, Memory and Audience in Memorials from the Eighties) (1993). He has also written several exhibition catalogues and museum guides.

“I am honored to hand the program over to someone with such extraordinary professional accomplishments,” said outgoing curator Vanderlip. “I have great confidence in Christoph as the new leader of the department.”

Born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1960, Heinrich received his Ph.D. from Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München. He is married to Kira van Lil, who worked closely with Heinrich to found “Young Friends of the Kunsthalle” in Hamburg, a support organization that grew to more than 2,500 members in five years.

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