Antonia Ruder has been appointed as the new director of Gallery Weekend Berlin (GWB), a major position in the city's commercial art world. Ruder, who will join the organisation in November, will take charge of the eponymous gallery weekend, which celebrates its 20th edition next year (26-28 April 2024).
Ruder currently leads communications for the Berlin theatre Schaubühne, known for its cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary programme. She has "contributed to bridging the gap between theatre and the world of visual arts" during her time there, according to a press release. Prior to that, she worked for a number of German arts and culture organisations, including the BMW Group, where she was instrumental in establishing the partnership between GWB and the German automobile manufacturer that remains today.
This appointment has been closely watched, as Ruder's predecessor, Maike Cruse, announced her departure in May to assume one of the industry's most coveted roles: the director of Art Basel's flagship Swiss fair. Cruse begins her new role on 1 July.
Ruder will now take the helm of Berlin's leading commercial art event, for which around 55 of the city's galleries open exhibitions over the same weekend. The event helps to galvanise sales in a city that lacks a major art fair, and sees international collectors and visitors fly in to enjoy a programme of art shows, performances and social events.
Gallery Weekend Berlin will also launch a new "festival" during Berlin Art Week, a separately run event in September, which was established in 2012, and focuses more on the city's institutions. The event's commercial standing has been in flux for several years, following the 2019 cancellation of the Art Berlin fair that took place during the same week. The next iteration of Berlin Art Week (13-17 September) will see GWB organise readings, performances, concerts and DJ sets over the weekend of 16-17 September, according to a press release. Further information on the programme will be announced soon.
"I’m very much looking forward to the new challenge of further expanding Gallery Weekend Berlin as a notable and indispensable date in the national and international art calendar," Ruder says in a statement. "The success of Gallery Weekend stands for the city's unique gallery scene and underscores the importance of Berlin as an art market hub. I see it as my primary goal to further strengthen its role and function. I’m eagerly anticipating the preparations for next year's anniversary edition."