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Chair of Art Theory & Curating


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.

Research Focus

  • Artistic forms of production
  • Artistic epistemes
  • Theory of curating and exhibiting (the politics of showing and museum research)
  • Social effects of educational architectures
  • Activism, art & the public
  • Art & aging
  • Art & emotions

Karen van den Berg has held the Chair of Art Theory & Curating at Zeppelin University since 2003. She studied art history, classical archaeology and Nordic philology in Saarbrucken and Basel. She was awarded her doctorate in Basel in 1995 with a dissertation on German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald.

In addition to her academic career, since 1988 van den Berg has maintained an independent curatorial practice and has realized numerous exhibitions in both public spaces and art institutions. From 1993 to 2003 she was a lecturer in contemporary art at the University Witten/Herdecke.

Since 2006 she has been academic director of the artsprogram, and since 2012 she has been the academic spokesperson for ZU’s Laboratory for implicit and artistic knowledge (LIKWI). She is also the spokesperson of the ZU research cluster Cultural Production in the Next Society. Since 2009 she has been the co-editor of the Jahrbuch für Kulturmanagement (Journal for Cultural Management).

Since 2011 she has been a member of the board of trustees and advisory council of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, and since 2014, the advisory council of the arts program at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

van den Berg, Karen Prof Dr phil

Curriculum Vitae



Research Projects and Publications


PhD projects

Brüggmann, Franziska

Buck, Christina

Wilhelmi, Alexander

Zepp, Eva

Zipp, Jan


van den Berg, Karen Prof Dr phil
Academic Program Director MA CCM
Chair of Art Theory & Curating
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1311
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1399
Room:FAB 3 | 1.43
   |   Curriculum Vitae   |   Publications


Landkammer, Joachim Dr phil
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Chair of Art Theory & Curating
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1312
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1399
Room:FAB 3 | 1.50

Pasero, Ursula Dr
Senior Research Fellow | Sociological Studies in the Art Field
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1303
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1399

Wilhelmi, Alexander MA MSc
Phone:+49 7541 6009-1316
Fax:+49 7541 6009-1399
Room:FAB 3 | 1.48

Zepp, Eva MLitt
Phone:+ 49 7541 6009-1317
Fax:+ 49 7541 6009-1399
Room:FAB 3 | 1.48