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Block, René

Block, René

Block, René

Block, René (March 15, 1942, Velbert, Germany), German art dealer, collector and curator. From 2008 to 2013, he was director of the non-profit gallery TANAS in Berlin, entirely funded by the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV). He also curated Arter's first exhibition at its venue on Istiklal Street. The exhibition, entitled “Starter: Works from the Vehbi Koç Contemporary Art Collection” opened to the public in 2010.

Block was Germany’s youngest art dealer when he opened the Grafische Cabinet René Block gallery in 1964 in Berlin, forming a close bond with Joseph Beuys and the Fluxus group. In 1966, he founded Edition Block, which publishes limited edition reproductions of artifacts and printed works by artists in Berlin. In 1974, he went to New York with Beuys and opened a gallery in Manhattan, which remained active until 1977.

In 1979, Block closed his gallery in Berlin to concentrate on his independent curatorial activities, organizing exhibitions for a number of art and culture organizations. He worked on the Berlin Artist in Residence Program as the director in charge of visual artists and composers from 1982 to 1992. From 1985 to 2007, he curated a number of biennials, including the 4th Istanbul Biennial in 1995, which bore the title, Orientation: A Perspective on Art in a Paradoxical World.

Block worked as director at the Fridericianum Museum in Kassel between 1997 and 2006. He also curated the Adventure İstiklal Contemporary Art Exhibition Series, which was on show at the Yapı Kredi Kâzım Taşkent Gallery (2007-10), working with Melih Fereli as an advisor, and edited the Turkish Contemporary Art Monography Series published in parallel to the exhibitions. He has contributed to the establishment of the VKV Contemporary Art Collection as advisor and has been serving as a member of the acquisition committee since 2007. In 2008, he established the Kunsthal 44 Møen art gallery on Denmark’s Møen island. He was also director of TANAS (2008-13), the non-profit gallery entirely funded by the Vehbi Koç Foundation with the aim of exhibiting works by mainly Turkish artists.

Block published Grafik des Kapitalistischen Realismus (Graphics of Capitalist Realism; 2 vol., 1971-76). He was the recipient of the German Critics’ Award in visual arts (1974), the Arthur Køpcke Award (1994), the Cologne Art Prize (2005) and the Hessen Culture Award (2007). 

Abadan Unat, Nermin

Political scientist who received the Vehbi Koç Award for education in 2012.