The Director of the Beyeler Foundation Promises to Break Its ‘Glass Ceiling’—After Baselitz and Balthus Shows

Sam Keller says that Switzerland’s most-visited art museum will show more female artists as it expands on its 20th anniversary.

In just over 20 years, the Fondation Beyeler has become Switzerland’s most-visited art gallery. And it is growing, in both ambition and size.

The Beyeler’s director, Sam Keller, is overseeing the forthcoming $100 million Peter Zumthor-designed expansion, which will double the institution’s footprint by adding pavilions to complement Renzo Piano’s celebrated building.

Construction is not likely to begin until later this year at the earliest. In the meantime, however, the museum is keeping busy. We spoke to Keller, who served as the head of Art Basel before joining the Beyeler in 2008, on the eve of its big show of the work of Georg Baselitz.  (So we had the idea to organize a retrospective on the occasion of his 80th birthday, with over 100 paintings and sculptures at Fondation Beyeler and his drawings and prints at the Kunstmuseum Basel. Georg Baselitz is one of the most interesting artists of the past 50 years and made a mark in art history.)

Keller discusses why the museum has rejected requests to franchise, why he’s not worried about its Balthus show, and how he plans to show more work by female artists at an institution with a history as a boys’ club.


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