Within Art Theory & Curating at Zeppelin University we believe in the importance of a poietic understanding of visual culture. In our research, therefore, we explore both the concrete practices and the ideas and theories, which drive contemporary art. In parallel we seek to establish a close connection between theoretical analysis and curatorial work.
Following an interpretive approach, our team engages with artistic production from the early modern period up to the present. Methodologically, this implies a visual and experience-based analysis of artifacts in order to locate these critically in their respective discursive contexts. To make sense of these contexts, the social history of artistic practices is regarded as equally significant to an historic understanding of aesthetic theories; we are not only concerned with finished objects, but also with their methods and conditions of production and in questions of institutionalization. With this, we aim to reach an holistic understanding of artistic forms of knowledge and their respective social meanings.
We are engaged in fostering a close dialogue between research and teaching, which is why the team at the chair is involved closely in the university’s artsprogram and the Laboratory for Implicit and Artistic Knowledge (LIKWI).
The chair represents a creative science of arts, i.e. dealing with artistic practices takes place both in an operational and a theoretically and critically reflective way. Researching, analyzing, and curating are therefore closely linked.
Karen van den Berg is Professor of Art Theory and Curating at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany since 2003. She studied art history, archaeology and Nordic philology in Saarbrücken and at the University of Basel, where she received her doctorate in 1995. From 1993 to 2003, she was a lecturer in contemporary art at Witten/Herdecke University.
Since 1988 she has also been working as an independent curator for various exhibitions. She is the academic head of Zeppelin University’s artsprogram as well as the spokesperson of LIKWI (Laboratory for Implicit and Artistic Knowledge) and the Center for Cultural Production, both housed at Zeppelin University. In addition, she was an editor of the Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement (Yearbook for Cultural Management) and since 2015, she is part of the editorial board of the Zeitschrift für Kulturmanagement (Journal for Cultural Management).
Her research focuses on art and politics, theory and history of exhibiting, the architecture of museums and educational institutions, artistic epistemes, the art market as well as the artist’s studio.
She has also been Writer in Residence at Chinati Foundation Marfa, Texas (Summer 1994); Fellow at International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy (IKKM) at Bauhaus University, Weimar (Summer 2016); Visiting Scholar at the Department of Comparative Literature and French & Italian, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, Stanford University (January 2017).
Her past grants include: 1991–1994 Doctoral Scholarship of the Friedrich-Naumann-Foundation; 1994-96 Max Imdahl Scholarship for Art Education (together with Jörg van den Berg)
Since 2011 Karen van den Berg is a member of the advisory board at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. Since 2014 she is a member of the advisory board of the Leuphana Arts Program at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. Between 2007 and 2012 she served as a board member of the Association of Cultural Management in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, for which she was reelected in 2016.