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Honorary Professorships and honorary members

Honorary Professors

Dr. Franz Wilhelm Kaiser (*1957) has been artistic director of the Bucerius Art Forum in Hamburg since 2016. A Ph.D. in art history, he previously served as director of exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (Municipal Museum, The Hague), beginning in 1989, and, additionally, as exhibition organiser for the Fotomuseum Den Haag (Museum of Photography, The Hague), and at GEM, the museum for contemporary art. His wide-ranging curatorial achievements include exhibitions on Yannis Kounellis, Sol LeWitt and Serge Spitzer, but also Wassily Kandinsky, Lucian Freud and Mark Rothko and the exhibitions “Von Monet zu Matisse” (“From Monet to Matisse”), “Kunst und Religion in Russland” (“ Art and Religion in Russia”) and “Cézanne – Picasso – Mondrian”, which are prime examples. Aside from serving as a member of various bodies and associations, he has been appointed Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. Kaiser has been an honorary professor at the HFBK Hamburg since 2017.

Dr. Dirk Luckow (*1958) has been intendant of the Deichtorhallen Hamburg since 2009. He completed his doctorate in art history at the FU Berlin, on Joseph Beuys and American “anti-form” art. He has occupied a number of posts, including at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (the North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection) in Düsseldorf, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, at the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart, as fine arts project head for the Siemens Arts Program in Munich and, from 2002 to 2009, as director of the Kunsthalle at Kiel.

Dr. Harald Falckenberg, renowned collector of contemporary art and a book writer, has been a honorary professor of the HFBK Hamburg since 2008. Harald Falckenberg (*1943) studied law in Berlin, Freiburg and Hamburg, completed his legal clerkship and assessor exams in Hamburg and gained a doctorate on international insurance law at the Universität Hamburg. He subsequently worked at the Universität Hamburg and the Freie Universität Berlin, first as a scientific assistant and later as a managing director and as a member of the Hamburger Verfassungsgericht (the Hamburg Constitutional Court). Falckenberg has been chairman of the Hamburger Kunstverein since 1999. His collection, housed in the Phoenixhallen, led the US magazine »Artnews« to name him as one of the »World’s Top 200 Collectors«. He is a longstanding member of the Freundeskreis der HFBK.

Bettina Steinbrügge (*1970) studied art history, English philology and comparative literature science in Kassel. After completing her studies, she worked for the Kasseler Kunstverein and the 5th Werkleitz Biennale. From 2001 to 2008, she was director of the Halle für Kunst e.V. Lüneburg, during which time she was also responsible for the Künstlerstätte (artist workshops) at Schloss Bleckede. She subsequently worked as a guest curator at the Kunsthalle Mulhouse and was until 2013 curator of contemporary art at the Belvedere, Vienna / 21er Haus. She has been director of the Kunstverein (Art Association) in Hamburg since 2014.

Since 2007, Dr. Stefan Sasse has been honorary professor of Patent Law/Copyright and Engineering Mechanics in the department of Design at the HFBK Hamburg. After studying machine construction specialising in design engineering, he completed a qualification as a patent assessor. He has written on design engineering, primarily in medical issues, in several publications. Since 2002 a patent lawyer with the law firm White & Case, Hamburg.

F. C. Gundlach (*1926), founding director of the Haus der Photographie in the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, has been an honorary professor at the HFBK since 2000. In the past, he specialised in fashion photography in a documentary style. During the 50s he quickly became a sought-after fashion photographer and photo-journalist. Models are constantly at the centre of his staged scenes; film stars and artists are also frequent subjects. F.C. Gundlach was later the curator of numerous internationally regarded photographic exhibitions. As a collector, his private photograph collection is one of the most significant in existence. He makes it available to the Haus für Photographie as an indefinite loan.

Enzo Mari (1932-2020), Italian industrial designer, artist and theorist, was appointed honorary professor at the HFBK in 2000. Enzo has designed more than 1600 objects in total for firms such as Danese, Artemide, Olivetti, Castelli and Rosenthal. His most significant designs include »Putrella«, a bowl fashioned from an iron beam, »Pago-Pago«, a vase made from artificial materials and usable on both sides and the »Sumatra« filing system. He has been awarded the »Compasso d’Oro« several times. As a design theorist he has written for several publications. During his time spent teaching internationally he was concerned primarily with the psychology of space and colour perception.

Nishikawa Katsuhito (*1949), whose work characteristically crosses the boundary between design, art and architecture, has been an honorary professor at the HFBK Hamburg since 2000. His work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, furniture and architecture. Together with Tadeo Ando, Erwin Heerich and others, he developed the »Museum Insel Hombroich« in Neuss. With several outdoor works, such as the walk-in »Tilapia« sculpture project, he has significantly influenced the area’s appearance.

Hanne Darboven (1941-2009), herself a graduate of the HFBK Hamburg, has been an honorary professor since 2000. This conceptual artist won international renown in the 60s through her development and modification of systems of complex number sequences, which she later also converted into music. Hanne Darboven has represented Germany at the Venice Biennale and taken part several times in the Kassel documenta. She died in 2009.

Honorary Members

Max Bill (1908-1994) was a leading representative of Concrete Art. He was active in both the theory and practice of art, design and architecture. Today his constructive sculptural works are displayed in public worldwide. As a furniture designer he became known by designing the »Ulmer Hocker« (Ulm stool) which can be used as a tray, a shelf or a stool. Max Bill received numerous prizes and honours for his work.

Gottfried Böhm (*1920) is the only German architect so far to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 1986. He built numerous churches, more than forty in total, most of them in the Rhineland. His work is characterised by an individual architecture of concrete and glass. Böhm’s best known building is the sculptural/expressionistic pilgrimage church in Neviges. Among his secular buildings are the town hall in Bergisch Gladbach-Bensberg, the Stadthaus in Ulm and a town hall with a cultural centre in Bocholt. The idea of roofing the Reichstag building with a glass dome also comes from Böhm.

Gret Palucca (1902-1993) As a young ballet student, Gret Palucca went to see a dance performance by Mary Wigman in Dresden. This caused the young girl to find a new direction beyond classical dance. As Wigman’s student and a member of her dance group, Gret Palucca developed a jaunty, cheerful dancing style. In 1924 she began her solo career, and became a leading representative of expressive dance. In 1925 she opened the Palucca-Schule in Dresden, later with offshoot projects in Berlin und Stuttgart. Contacts with Dada artists and with the early Bauhaus made New Art into one of Palucca’s themes.

Frei Otto (1925-2015) was one of the leading representatives of a biomorphic architecture. He developed structures for his buildings based on pneumatic and biological principles from his intensive study of nature and natural forms. Best known are his tent-like roofing constructions, for instance the Olympic Stadium in Munich. Other major works are the German Pavilion for the World Exhibition in Montreal 1967, »eco-houses« for the IBA (international building exhibition) in Berlin 1985 and the temporary umbrella constructions for Pink Floyd’s tour in 1977. Frei Otto has been famous worldwide for his experience with light construction, cable nets and lattice shells.

Margarethe Schütte-Lihotzky (1897-2000) was the first woman in Austria to complete a degree in architecture. Her designs were influenced by the then still nascent tendency towards functionalism in design. She became well known through her design of the “Frankfurter Küche” (Frankfurt kitchen), considered a prototype of the modern fitted kitchen. In 1941 she was arrested by the Gestapo during a journey to Vienna while attempting to secretly contact the Austrian Communist resistance movement and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 1945 she was liberated by US troops. Later she received commissions in Bulgaria, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba and the DDR. In 1980 her work was belatedly recognised by Austria. She was awarded the Architekturpreis der Stadt Wien (architecture prize of the city of Vienna).

Together with his wife, Friedrich Spengelin (1925-2016) run an architecture bureau in Hamburg, with a branch in Hannover. They have realised numerous pieces of work together, such as the Kunsthalle Emden and the town hall and spa building on Heligoland.

Oswald Mathias Ungers (1926-2006) was an influential architect during Germany’s post-war period. His architecture is based on basic geometrical forms, such as circles, squares and cubes. Using these primal forms, he established an unmistakable elementary building style, outside of all modern trends. As one of the leading theorists of his time, he developed »German rationalism«. Well-known examples of his building art include the Galerie der Gegenwart (Gallery of the Present Day) of the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Alfred-Wegener Institut in Bremerhaven.

Studiengruppe Prof. Dr. Anja Steidinger, Was animiert uns?, 2021, Mediathek der HFBK Hamburg, Filmstill

Unlearning: Wartenau Assemblies

The art education professors Nora Sternfeld and Anja Steidinger initiated the format "Wartenau Assemblies". It oscillates between art, education, research and activism. Complementing this open space for action, there is now a dedicated website that accompanies the discourses, conversations and events.

Ausstellungsansicht "Schule der Folgenlosigkeit. Übungen für ein anderes Leben" im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg; photo: Maximilian Schwarzmann

School of No Consequences

Everyone is talking about consequences: The consequences of climate change, the Corona pandemic or digitalization. Friedrich von Borries (professor of design theory), on the other hand, is dedicated to consequence-free design. In “School of No Consequences. Exercises for a New Life” at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, he links collection objects with a "self-learning room" set up especially for the exhibition in such a way that a new perspective on "sustainability" emerges and supposedly universally valid ideas of a "proper life" are questioned.

Annual Exhibition 2021 at the HFBK

Annual exhibition a bit different: From February 12- 14, 2021 students at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, together with their professors, had developed a variety of presentations on different communication channels. The formats ranged from streamed live performances to video programs, radio broadcasts, a telephone hotline, online conferences, and a web store for editions. In addition, isolated interventions could be discovered in the outdoor space of the HFBK and in the city.

Public Information Day 2021

How do I become an art student? How does the application process work? Can I also study to become a teacher at the HFBK? These and other questions about studying art were answered by professors, students and staff at the HFBK during the Public Information Day on February 13, 2021. In addition, there will be an appointment specifically for English-speaking prospective students on February 23 at 2 pm.

Katja Pilipenko

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

On the evening of November 4, the HFBK celebrated the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as the awarding of the Hiscox Art Prize in a livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

photo: Tim Albrecht

Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show took place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students showed their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation.

Exhibition Transparencies with works by Elena Crijnen, Annika Faescke, Svenja Frank, Francis Kussatz, Anne Meerpohl, Elisa Nessler, Julia Nordholz, Florentine Pahl, Cristina Rüesch, Janka Schubert, Wiebke Schwarzhans, Rosa Thiemer, Lea van Hall. Organized by Prof. Verena Issel and Fabian Hesse; photo: Screenshot

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

Alltagsrealität oder Klischee?; photo: Tim Albrecht

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

Ausstellung Social Design, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Teilansicht; photo: MKG Hamburg

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?