Matias Faldbakken, Waste Bin Sculpture #1, 2010. Installation view at NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, 2011. Photo: Carl Brunn. Courtesy the artist and NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein
NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein is one of the youngest establishments of its kind in Germany: a private nonprofit association for contemporary art with about 400 members.
The German Kunstverein model that NAK adheres to is based on a tradition that began during the Enlightenment, when institutions were enacted to leave a legacy of the rising bourgeoisie, exhibit contemporary art and promote social exchange. Following this traditionalist lead, NAK was founded in 1986. It was thought of as a perpetuation of the 1964 Fluxus festival, held at the Technical Academy in Aachen, with Joseph Beuys as protagonist. The spirit of this moment has since been the source of NAK’s commitment to contemporary art.
NAK is a staple institution for the local art scene of Aachen; but way beyond this, it is also internationally recognized as an innovative platform for contemporary art and its discourse. The association operates relatively independently, in terms of its immediate economical, cultural, and political interests. This twofold autonomy positions NAK as a space for artistic experimentation, with innovative curatorial ambitions, and opens up the opportunity to actively engage with multifarious contemporary art movements. NAK’s program reveres the important act of arts engagement, not as a lone outlet for information and value within globalized economies, but as an integrated function of societal critique and development.