Beatrix Ruf

Director Kunsthalle Zurich and board member of organisations including the Ringier collection and Vienna’s MUMOK

Beatrix Ruf has been director of the Kunsthalle Zurich for the past 12 years. But that doesn’t describe why she ranks so highly on this list. She’s also associate editor for the art publishing house JRP Ringier; artistic director of the Ringier collection; a member of financial company Swiss Re’s art-commissioning board; on the cultural advisory board of CERN; on the board of trustees of Vienna’s MUMOK; juror for this year’s Absolut Art Awards; nominator for the Prix Pictet; and probably a load of other things that Google doesn’t instantly cough up. 

Given all that, it will be no surprise to learn that she’s particularly expert in negotiating the relationship between public exhibitions and private collections – increasingly key to the global art scene – and this year launched the first exhibition of the POOL curatorial programme, a scheme in which private collections (this year the Ruf-connected collections of Maja Hoffmann – who sits on the Kunsthalle’s board of directors – and Michael Ringier) open their doors to an outside curator (in this case South African Gabi Ngcobo) so as ‘to position private collecting within the context of contemporary exhibition practice’. 

This year the Kunsthalle also held a series of exhibitions focused on what Ruf has become known for – established but underexposed artists (Cameron Jamie, Lutz Bacher), and artists who are driving the agenda of the next generation (Alejandro Cesarco, Wade Guyton and Uri Aran). More than anything else, Ruf has a keen eye for artists who are shaping the scene.