MG59512 Photograph: Michael Belogour

Dear Friends of the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

Who decides which art will be displayed at a national art gallery? The vague idea that its director must necessarily have extraordinarily well-developed artistic tastes to flow into the exhibition program has pretty much been refuted – at the latest since the beginning of 21st century. As a provider of public education, a state-sponsored institution has a certain responsibility to live up to. Nowadays, the role and self-image of an art gallery must continually be put to question and highest artistic and aesthetic demands must be brought into balance with the greatest possible degree of societal accessibility and relevance. The Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden enjoys protection as a national monument and provides first-rate conditions for exhibiting art – even such art that didn’t even evolve until a hundred years after the building was designed by architect Hermann Billing.

The Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden is firmly anchored within a societal structure that reaches far beyond city limits and the immediate vicinity. The neighboring Museum Frieder Burda is beholden to the extensive collection of its patron Frieder Burda. The Kunsthalle, on the other hand, is not bound to the personal preferences of its direction or curatorial staff. It must be committed – in greater measure than ever– to having an impact on society. Its close proximity to a private museum offers an excellent starting point for taking up anew discussions concerning the public function and responsibilities of a national art gallery at the beginning of the 21st century.

We are looking forward to your visit!

The Team of the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden