Right now, the East German city of Dresden is both a hub of art and culture, and a hotbed of xenophobia. That makes for a difficult start for the Saxony State Art Collections’ new curator, Marion Ackermann, and an uncertain future for the city’s 15 internationally renowned museums.
The capital of Saxony, only about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the Czech border, is famous for its architectural treasures such as the Baroque Church of Our Lady, or Frauenkirche, that was rebuilt in the city center after World War II. The city’s many museums boast masterpieces such as Raphael’s Sistine Madonna and the Gerhard Richter archive.
Yet it has also been the birthplace of the xenophobic Pegida movement. Pegida regularly calls demonstrations to protest the Germany’s alleged Islamization through the influx of Muslim refugees from the Middle East.
A fortnight ago, two improvised explosive devices went off in a Dresden mosque and in an international conference center. No one was injured but there was considerable financial damage.
Ms. Ackermann said when she takes the helm at Dresden’s State Art Collections in November, she wants to boost public identification with the museums. “I want to work with open laboratories in the city,” she said. “My goal is participation by many different strata of society.”