NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein is one of the youngest institutions of its kind in Germany; a private non-profit association for contemporary art in the tradition of the German Kunstverein model with meanwhile over 500 members. Where the Kunstverein as an institution and its significance is based on a tradition going back more than 200 years, starting in the era of enlightenment as a legacy of the rising bourgeoisie for showing contemporary art and social exchange, NAK was founded in 1986 as a late echo of the 1964 Fluxus festival, with Joseph Beuys and Wolf Vostell as center protagonist at the local university in Aachen. The spirit of this moment has since been source of commitment to contemporary art.
NAK is a core institution of the local art scene, but way beyond this, it is also internationally recognised as an innovative platform for contemporary art and its discourse. NAK has the freedom to operate relatively independent in terms of its immediate economical as well as political interests. This twofold autonomy predestines the Kunstverein to be a space for artistic experimentation, where innovative curatorial work can be accomplished without spurious consideration
for political duties or mercantile calculations. In addition, its slender organisational form allows it to react flexibly, quickly and non-bureaucratically to current artistic developments and to actively engage in these.
The NAK programme reflects on visuality acting as a vehicle for information and value within the globalized economies as well as a medium of art reflecting on actual societal developments in a crystallising way for a critical temporary collective. It is oriented internationally and with consideration of the local context.
Over the 25 years NAK. Neuer Aachener Kunstverein has exhibited several today well-known artists, among them Hans-Peter Feldmann (1991), Bruce Nauman (1993), Candida Höfer (1994), Valie Export, Gerhard Richter, Franz Ackermann (1998), Jonathan Meese, Wolfgang Tillmans (1999), Fiona Banner, Morgan Fisher (2002), Lucy McKenzie (2003), Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven (2004), Matias Faldbakken (2010), Simon Denny, Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys (2011), and Goldin & Senneby (2012), Patrycja German (2014), Josephine Meckseper (2014), Andreas Greiner (2014), Jacob Kirkegaard and Konrad Smolenski (2015), Pola Sieverding (2016), Plamen Dejanoff and Hiroki Tsukuda (2017).
Since 1997 Susanne Titz (1997-2004), Anette Freudenberg (2004), Dr. Stefanie Kreuzer (2005-2006), Melanie Bono (2007-2009) and Dorothea Jendricke (2010-2013) were directors at NAK. Interim directors were Stephanie Seidel and Julia Jung (2011-2012) and Carla Donauer (2013). Since September 2013 Ben Kaufmann was director of NAK. Starting in January 2018 Maurice Funken is the interim director.
In 2000 NAK was honored with the ART FRANKFURT PREIS (former Adam-Elsheimer-Preis) for its innovative practice. In 2008 NAK was awarded the JUMP – annual prize for Kunstvereine by Kunststiftung NRW.
2013 NAK was nominated for the ADKV-ART COLOGNE Preis für Kunstvereine for the first time.