Eckmann named Kemper Art Museum director

Sabine Eckmann, Ph.D., will become director of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum July 1, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton announced.

Sabine Eckmann
Sabine Eckmann

Eckmann joined the Kemper Art Museum as curator in fall 1999 and regularly teaches seminars in the Department of Art History and Archaeology in Arts & Sciences.

She will succeed Mark S. Weil, Ph.D., the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts, who will retire June 30.

“Sabine is an exceptional scholar, curator and administrator,” Wrighton said. “She has brought national and international attention to our outstanding art collection through a series of ambitious exhibitions, events and publications.

“I look forward to continued strengthening of museum programs under her leadership.”

Eckmann’s appointment comes at a time of great activity for the Kemper Art Museum, one of three major units in the new Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.

Now under construction, the five-building, $60 million complex — three buildings of which are designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki — aspires to become a national model for the creation, study and exhibition of multidisciplinary and collaborative work. Plans include new museum facilities, scheduled to open in fall 2006, that will triple the current exhibition space.

Eckmann, a native of Nürnberg, Germany, is a specialist in 20th- and 21st-century European art and visual culture with a particular focus on the intersection of art and politics, ranging from exile art and Cold War aesthetics to European post-unification art. Other research interests include avant-gardism, new art forms, media, critical theory and cultural studies.

Eckmann studied at the University Erlangen-Nürnberg and the University of Köln, earning a doctorate in 1993.

Prior to arriving in St. Louis, she taught at the University of Tulsa and served as exhibition associate for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s acclaimed Exiles Emigrés: The Flight of European Artists From Hitler (1997).

Fluent in English, German, Italian and French, Eckmann has lectured widely and contributed essays to numerous books and periodicals, including volumes on Max Beckmann, John Heartfield, Roberto Matta and Felix Nussbaums.

She edited and contributed essays to the catalogs for Exiles Emigrés, H.W. Janson and Exil Und Moderne.

She also recently completed a manuscript on Caught by Politics: Hitler Exiles and American Visual Culture, co-edited with Lutz Koepnick, associate professor of German and of Film and Media Studies, both in Arts & Sciences.

Last fall, Eckmann won a $125,000 Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award to support Reality Bites: Making Avant-Garde Art in Post-Wall Germany, scheduled to open in the museum’s new facilities in spring 2007.