The nine-gallery coalition behind Berlin Gallery Weekend and Art Berlin Contemporary (ABC) announced Wednesday that Cédric Aurelle will join as the new executive director of both events. Aurelle will join artistic director, and former Art Basel spokesperson Maike Cruse, who was appointed at the beginning of September and indicated to ARTINFO that she is eager to get to work in collaboration with Aurelle.
The organizers released a group statement saying, “With his substantiated experience, institutional background and excellent knowledge of the local, national and international art scene, Cédric Aurelle is the ideal person to bring the important figures of both organizations together with the global art world.”
Aurelle, who previously started the annual Berlin-Paris Gallery Exchange and served as director of the Bureau des Arts Plastiques at the French embassy in Berlin, will take charge of all business development and sponsorship for the two events in what is looking to be their most significant restructuring and growth initiative since their founding. While Cruse will work exclusively on ABC and Michael Neff will continue to run the VIP programming for Gallery Weekend, Aurelle’s bridging of Berlin’s two most important art events is a definitive step by the organizing galleries to distance themselves from what has become an increasingly arduous organizational process. Speaking to several of the organizers leading up to the official announcement, the sentiment was that time constraints had limited the extent to which they could expand both Gallery Weekend and ABC beyond their current levels without a change in the organizational model.
Aurelle echoes these feelings, speaking on the phone with ARTINFO. “Both events were initiated by the same group of galleries, who had been working to organize them together. Now, in order to step back, they have passed that responsibility on to Maike and me. Gallery Weekend and ABC are both distinct in the way that they are organized and will further develop their very differents profiles,” he says. “But both have an obviously similar interest in art and Berlin and we are now looking to use the synergies to strengthen the dynamic in the Berlin art calendar.”
Key among those efforts will be creating greater synergy in terms of sponsorship and marketing with goals of expanding the programming and international outreach in order to bring more collectors to Berlin, often chided for its lackluster market. “The first main thing will be to bring more international awareness to what is happening in Berlin and to create more opportunities for various partnerships that can span across both events,” Aurelle adds. “The landscape of Berlin is always evolving.”
Gallery Weekend Berlin will take place April 26-28, 2013. Art Berlin Contemporary will take place September 19-22, 2013.
— Alexander Forbes