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Daniel Birnbaum (b. 1963) is a Swedish art critic, theoretician, curator, and the current Director of the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet) in Stockholm. From 1989 until 1997, Birnbaum worked as an art critic at the leading Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter and also as an independent curator.
In 1998, he obtained his doctoral degree from Stockholm University with a thesis on Edmund Husserl. Birnbaum is a contributing editor of the international art magaine Artforum, and has written extensively on art and philosophy for magazines include Parkett and Frieze. Birnbaum has also worked as a director of IASPIS (The Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Programme for Visual Artists). In 2000, Birnbaum became Director at Städelschule, in Frankfurt am Main, one of Europe’s most experimental art academies. During his time at this fine arts academy, he also presided over Portikus, Städelschule’s exhibition site which is also recognised as one of the leading places for contemporary art in Germany.
While he taught in Frankfurt am Main, Birnbaum continued his curatorial work. He was a co-curator of the international section at the Venice Biennale (2003) and the artistic director of the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). Birnbaum also worked as co-curator of the first and second Moscow Biennales of Contemporary Art (2005 and 2007) and was a member of the jury for the Turner Prize (2008). He also co-founded the Zero Foundation in Düsseldorf in 2008. In 2010, Daniel Birnbaum became the Director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, revitalising the experimental legacy of the museum. Daniel has established a reputation for showing key artists very early in their careers including internationally recognised artists such as Olafur Eliasson.
Since 2003 Birnbaum has been the Editor, alongside Isabelle Graw, of the Institut für Kunstkritik series published by Sternberg Press. Birnbaum also recently joined the Hilma af Klint Foundation as an adjunct member of the board and special advisor for international programs. He co-curated ‘Hilma af Klint: Painting the Unseen’ at the Serpentine Galleries in 2016 and the current exhibition ‘Hilma af Klint: Possible Worlds’ at Sao Paolo’s Pinacoteca.