“We tracked down artists and writers whose interests and concerns seemed relevant to us; we benefited from the advice of competent people and built up a network. Parkett’s mission as a transatlantic bridge also meant publishing the magazine in German and English and having offices in Zurich and New York. We always worked directly with the artists.”
“As a model for the summer academy, I envisioned the groves of Academe in ancient Athens, where people would stroll about philosophizing. For instance, we organized one of the academies in Bern’s botanical gardens.”
Jacqueline Burckhardt is a woman of many talents: she is a restorer, art historian, curator, author, editor, and organizer. With her passion for art, she amalgamates all areas of activity in her life. She is guided by genuine curiosity and an affinity for art. Her training as a restorer at the Istituto Centrale del Restauro in Rome was a seminal influence on her approach to art. The knowledge Burckhardt gained there was primarily the combined experience of direct observation, of respect for the needs of a work of art, and of the interplay between theory and practice. Her studies at the University of Zurich complemented the union of theoretical knowledge and aesthetic experience with the scholarship of art historical analysis.
Jacqueline Burckhardt was the co-founder and editor of the art magazine Parkett. For 33 years, from 1984 to 2017, she played a key role in shaping the profile of the magazine. Parkett stimulated discussion in both German and English about the current art of the time, with a focus on the transatlantic exchange of art and artist relationships. The success was overwhelming, not least because of the proximity to the artists. Parkett published 101 issues and provided a platform for over 300 artists – listing them today reads like a who’s who of the art history of that time: from Richard Artschwager to Laura Owens, from Tauba Auerbach to Robert Wilson, from Cosima von Bonin to Jimmie Durham, from Maurizio Cattelan to Sylvie Fleury, and from Fischli/Weiss to Katharina Fritsch. There were also stars like Meret Oppenheim, Andy Warhol, Roni Horn, Paul McCarthy, Isa Genzken, Richard Serra, Monica Bonvicini, storytellers such as Sam Taylor-Wood, Mika Rottenberg, Karen Kilimnik, Sophie Calle, global thinkers such as Alighiero e Boetti, Camille Henrot, Pipilotti Rist, and poets such as Luc Tuymans and Tacita Dean. Whether purists, storytellers, demiurges or global thinkers – artists are always committed to the specific aesthetics of the artistic economy of means as well as the awareness of the way in which the work of art appears.
In addition to her mediation work at Parkett, Burckhardt initiated a performance program at the Kunsthaus Zürich through which Laurie Anderson gained a loyal Zurich audience. She directed the Sommerakademie at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern for eight years. Under her leadership, the academy in Bern established itself in the art world and became an important meeting place for current art debates of the time. She taught future architects the foundations of art at the Accademia di architettura in Mendrisio. For the Novartis Campus in Basel (2005–2015) she created a complex iconographic program with several artists, through which the site now echoes the narrative of the research and history of the pharmaceutical industry.
She presided over various committees such as the Fondation Nestlé pour l’Art and, from 1998 to 2006, the Swiss Federal Art Commission, thereby influencing the course of Swiss cultural policy. The German artist Sigmar Polke requested Jacqueline Burckhardt to accompany him with her expertise in the process of designing the stained glass windows at the Grossmünster in Zurich. She could be described as a director of revivified art mediation, in allusion to her doctoral thesis entitled Giulio Romano, Regisseur einer verlebendigten Antike (Director of a Revivified Antiquity).
Jacqueline Burckhardt was born in Basel in 1947. She is a restorer, studied art history at the University of Zurich, and co-founded the art magazine Parkett in 1984. She lives in Zurich.