Beleaguered British art director finds support in Germany

Alistair Hudson exhibited an allegedly antisemitic piece of artwork in Manchester


Karlsruhe, Germany, August 5th 2018: ZKM Center for Art and Media. ZKM organizes special exhibitions and thematic events in the field of new media. It's building was formerly a munitions factory.

The British art museum director called on to step down after hosting an allegedly antisemitic exhibition, has secured a new role in Germany.

British national Alistair Hudson, 53, current director of the Manchester Art Gallery and the University of Manchester’s Whitworth gallery, has been made head of the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg.

In a unanimous vote by the ZKM board of trustees, Hudson has been the official Chairman, to the delight of the institution and local dignitaries.

Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe,  Dr. Frank Mentrup said Hudson was “the right person to set the future course for the ZKM.”

Meanwhile Petra Olschowski, Baden-Württemberg’s state secretary for the Ministry of Science, Research and Art said: "We are impressed by his comprehensive view of art, science and technology as drivers of social innovation and participation."

The ZKM, where Hudson will now serve as chairperson, is the same institution which commissioned the controversial work, “Cloud Studies” which led to calls to his resignation in the UK.

Cloud Studies claimed to show the alleged effects of state violence on the ecological systems in Beirut and Palestine.

When Hudson exhibited the work in Manchester, critics branded it as antisemitic and called on him to step down.

Hudson made no reference to any of this, however, as he reflected on his new position: “It is a real honour to be able to take on this role at ZKM, which has now established itself as one of the principle cultural institutions in the world right now” he said.

“Most of all, I see it as one of the most relevant centres of the arts and sciences, carving out new horizons as the world changes with exponential speed."

Before his current role as director of the two Manchester art museums, Hudson worked as at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA).

In his new role, Hudson will succeed Prof. Peter Weibel, son of a Russian German and a Wehrmacht officer, who has headed the ZKM since 1999.

"Alistair Hudson is an excellent man. He will set decisive impulses for the future of the ZKM” said Weibel.

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