After a long and winding recruitment process, Diana Baldon has been appointed new director of Malmö Konsthall. Baldon will give up her position as director of Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, and will thus leave the small kunsthalle on the island of Kungsholmen in Stockholm for ”one of Europe’s largest exhibition halls for contemporary art”.
The contract will only run over two years, and Baldon will assume the position after the summer. Kunstkritikk previously noted in its Nordic edition that none of the final three candidates – Diana Baldon, Paul Domela och Anders Kreuger – was on the first and publicly accessible list of applicants, but rather had been shortlisted through an external headhunting process. According to the cultural board of the city of Malmö, the final decision stood between two candidates who proceeded to interviews with union representatives and ”intelligence tests, competence tests, and personality tests”.
In relation to the appointment, Malmö-based art critic Thomas Millroth (in daily paper Sydsvenskan 26. March) questioned the ”unnecessarily secretive” and languid ”recruitment darkness”, calling for openness and public discussion: ”Now, the questions remain unanswered. And these are questions about the candidates, about the long handling of the issue, which might have been due to discord, or due to formulating a new artistic and cultural policy for the kunsthalle. Questions are good per se, but if they remain unanswered they will only give birth to speculations. This is a matter of concern for a much larger number of citizens than the ones you can fit in to the city’s cultural board.”
Diana Baldon started at Index in 2011. Since then, she has produced the recurring performance programme The Audience is the Mother of Self-invention (with, among others, Cornelius Cardew, Babette Mangolte, Olav Westphalen, Mattin, and Nina Beier), separate shows with Beatrice Gibson (featuring Jesse Ash), Sture Johannesson, and Goshka Macuga, as well as the film Counter-Production (part 2), a documentation of a group show at the Generali Foundation in Vienna (curated by Baldon with Ilse Lafer)
It remains to see if Baldon, taking over the reigns at the newly renovated building in Malmö – designed by architect Klas Anshelm, constructed in 1975 – will succeed in meeting both with the city’s cultural board and its wish for an international profile, and art critic Thomas Millroth’s enthusiastic call for a firm grounding in the local context, where ”one who wants to make the kunsthalle urgent in the region, must know what the region is and what it contains”.