23 Nov 2022

New dual leadership for art KARLSRUHE: Kristian Jarmuschek and Olga Blass will jointly run the fair in the future

Planned transition to be implemented after the 2023 fair

After the twentieth edition of art KARLSRUHE – International Fair for Classic Modern and Contemporary Art (4-7 May 2023), its curator and founder Ewald Karl Schrade will hand over the management of the art fair to proven and new hands. After the handover, art KARLSRUHE will be jointly managed by the art historian Olga Blass and the advisory board’s chairman Kristian Jarmuschek.

New management concept for art KARLSRUHE

The starting shot for the transformation process was fired in July 2021, when Ewald Karl Schrade announced his intention to retire from his position as curator after art KARLSRUHE 2023. His decision was followed by a structured tender and selection process. Together with Schrade, Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre developed a new management concept. In the future, the fair will be headed in-house by Olga Blass, who has been part of the art KARLSRUHE team since 2011 and has guided the fair as its project manager since 2017. A strengthened external advisory board is planned as the second head, which will be active on the market with a leading chairperson. This position has now been filled by Kristian Jarmuschek, who has been the managing owner of the Berlin-based gallery Jarmuschek + Partner since 2004. Since 2013, he has also been a board member of the Federal Association of German Galleries and Art Dealers, where he recently started his third term of office.

The following individuals served on the selection committee for the new position: the director of the Städtische Galerie Stefanie Patruno, the director of the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien (ZKM) Dr. Helga Huskamp, the gallery owner and publisher Dr Dorothea van der Koelen, the journalist Dorothee Baer-Bogenschütz and the Berlin gallery owner Werner Tammen. Birgit Rolfes, head of the art collection of Mannheimer Versicherungen, was represented from the circle of long-standing partners. In the run-up to the selection, the internationally renowned agency Odgers Berndtson interviewed numerous personalities from the international art world who were aligned with the new management profile.

To ensure a smooth transition, Kristian Jarmuschek will participate as a guest in the meeting of the advisory board on the jurying of exhibitors for art KARLSRUHE 2023 in December 2022 and will assist Ewald Karl Schrade and the fair team in their planning.

For the subsequent 21st edition of art KARLSRUHE in 2024, Kristian Jarmuschek and Olga Blass will officially direct the fair together for the first time.

Comments on the new management of art KARLSRUHE

“The new management concept is an important step towards ensuring that art KARLSRUHE will continue to be successful in the future”, confidently says Britta Wirtz, Managing Director of Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre. “The unanimity of everyone involved in the selection process over the past months is a significant signal for art KARLSRUHE. The anticipation of being able to work with Mr Jarmuschek in the future is great. In addition to the perspective of a gallery owner, he also brings with him the knowledge of an experienced fair organiser who knows what it means to manage all aspects of a large project – from acquisition through stand construction to visitor management. He is very well networked in the scene, not only thanks to his association activities, and his recent re-election affirms the recognition of his work within the industry. This makes him an excellent choice for our new structures. But my special thanks at this point go to Ewald Karl Schrade, who has not only helped art KARLSRUHE attain its current radiance over the last twenty years, on which we can now continue to build, but has also accompanied the transformation process with advice and action.”

Ewald Karl Schrade is likewise pleased with the new orientation: “It was an all-round successful planning and finding process. I am sure that the duo of Blass and Jarmuschek will put the fair in a very good position in the future and that it will continue to develop without losing its DNA. Since taking my decision, it has been extremely important to me to know that the fair will be in trustworthy hands after my departure as curator. We have succeeded in this. Already since 2017, I have been able to hand over numerous tasks to the team at Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre, especially to Ms Blass. I view the interaction between the fair’s market team and a strengthened external advisory board as the right path for art KARLSRUHE. Now, however, I look forward to my last term as curator. Of course, I plan to remain with the fair as an exhibiting gallery owner afterwards.”

Looking ahead to his new role as external director, Kristian Jarmuschek is equally expectant: “The joy on my part is immense”, says Jarmuschek. “As a gallery owner, I know how a fair ‘has to feel’ from an exhibitor’s standpoint and I can optimally contribute this perspective to the conception of art KARLSRUHE. The concerns and wishes of the exhibitors are of particular importance to me. I will take on my new function as chairman of the advisory board with great respect. Since its founding in 2004, art KARLSRUHE has established itself as one of the most important art fairs in the German-speaking region. Especially in the southwestern part of Germany, a region with a diverse and lively art industry, this fair is appreciated as a prominent contact point for experienced art collectors and newcomers alike. This achievement deserves recognition. Above all, I admire the passion with which Ewald Karl Schrade has dedicated himself to art KARLSRUHE over the past two decades and the heartfelt dedication with which he has shaped the fair. In the coming years, I will use my experience to further evolve art KARLSRUHE, in awareness of its special character, as an important platform for all market participants regionally and internationally.”

As the voice of the advisory board, Werner Tammen, Chairman of the Berlin Galleries Association, is satisfied as well: “We have made a very good choice with Kristian Jarmuschek. Of course, the new management team has big shoes to fill, but I am sure that with him as the new chairman, the advisory board will fulfil an important function for the further development of art KARLSRUHE so that the fair’s planning will reflect and incorporate the concerns of the market.”

Finally, the new management concept is also a trend-setting signal for Gabriele Luczak-Schwarz, Lord Mayor of Karlsruhe and Chair of the Supervisory Board of Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre: “The appointment of Kristian Jarmuschek to head the external advisory board is good news for Karlsruhe’s city administration. I am sure that Kristian Jarmuschek will contribute to further strengthening Karlsruhe’s excellent reputation as a city of art. At the same time, thanks to his excellent network, he will no doubt succeed in leaving a lasting mark on art KARLSRUHE and in leading the fair into a continued successful future. Many thanks to Mr Schrade, who has succeeded in making art KARLSRUHE an internationally renowned art fair. Through art KARLSRUHE, our city – which has been a UNESCO City of Media Arts since 2019 – annually moves into the focus of the interested public and also places Karlsruhe in the media as an important location on the national and international art scene.”

Portrait Tanja Stopper
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Tanja Stopper
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