about

Helen Adkins is an independent art historian born 1960 in Watford (UK). She was raised in Paris, moved to Germany in 1977, and has been based in Berlin since 1986.

She received an MA in art history from the University of Freiburg (1984) and worked from 1986 to 1996 as a curator and head of project for blockbuster international exhibitions in Berlin (e.g. "Stationen der Moderne”, Berlinische Galerie 1988, for which she realized the reconstruction of the First International Dada Fair, Berlin 1920), Montreal („Les Années 20. L’Âge des Métropoles“, Musée des Beaux-Arts 1990), and Moscow (e.g. „Berlin – Moskau“, Puschkin Museum 1996). She also collaborated on the Sydney Biennial of 1990, curated by René Block.

1996-2002 she ran the museumsakademie, her own commercial gallery for emerging artists in Berlin Mitte (featuring Daniele Buetti (CH); Åsa Elzén (S); Miguel Rothschild (ARG); Barbara Trautmann (D), Hs Winkler (D) etc.) with a program of over 50 exhibitions in 6 years.

When the gallery building changed hands, she returned to curating, including the following projects: "legal/illegal. art beyond law" (in collaboration with Hs Winkler, featuring C. Burden, J. Kerbel, G. Maciunas, G. Motti, D. Oppenheim etc., NGBK Berlin 2004) "Künstler.Archiv / Artist.Archive" (featuring C. Boltanski, J. Gerz, I. & E. Kabakov, C. Kubisch, C. Nicolai, M. Rothschild, E.-M. Schön, Hs Winkler. Akademie der Künste, Berlin 2005).

2004-2007 she was responsible for the Berlin Residency Program of Arts Council Northeast. In 2008 she received her PhD from Braunschweig University of Art (HBK) for a monograph on the montages of Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969). Starting 2008, she is a lecturer at HBK. In recent years, her academic focus has been on the Avant-garde and its relationship to contemporary practice.

Since 2011, she has been working on the catalogue raisonné of Christian Schad’s (1894-1982) photograms. Currently, she is caring for the estate of the Berlin based sculptor Nänzi (1962-2013) and provides consulting services.

She has enormously profited from work residencies at Casa Zia Lina, Elba, as a guest of the Dr. Robert and Lina Thyll-Dürr Foundation, Switzerland (2007/2009/2014), and in Venice at the Emily Harvey Foundation (summer 2017).

She has widely published on the historical Avant-garde and on contemporary art. She is fluent in English, French, and German.

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