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Leevi Haapala

Born September 24, 1972, Keuruu

Master of Arts (art history, museology, cultural history) 1997, University of Turku
PhD (art history) 2012, University of Helsinki

Museum Director 2015–, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
Professor of Praxis 2014–15, Academy of Fine Arts/University of the Arts
Acting Chief Curator of Collections, amanuensis and member of the acquisitions committee 2007–2014, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art
Researcher 1997–2007, Central Art Archives/ Finnish National Gallery
Civilian national service 1994–95, Museum of Contemporary Art

Jury member for the Ars Fennica Award 2015–
Board member of the Kiasma Foundation 2015–
Board member of the Pro Arte Foundation and member of the working group for the IHME Contemporary Art Festival 2008–15
Member of the expert group for Young Artist of the Year, Tampere Art Museum 2012­–15

Photo: National Gallery/Pirje Mykkänen
Written by Olli Siitonen

Translated by Matthew Billington

Free time

Dr Leevi Haapala says his job and his free time are inextricably linked. The Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art must represent his museum and attend assorted cultural events.

“I rather think of what I used to enjoy doing in my free time. We just got our wooden boat into dry dock for the winter, so there's one worry dealt with.”

In between his representative duties, Dr Haapala does his best to visit exhibitions and follow developments in the rest of the art field. In addition to hanging out with friends and cooking, Dr Haapala is interested in retro design. He picks up items representing the pop aesthetic of the 1960s–70s from fairs and antique shops as well as online. His collecting also helps him deal with stress.

“I took up this retro hobby such as collecting art glass in the cheerful pop spirit as a balance of sorts when I was working on my doctoral dissertation. My research was extremely theoretical and even grim at times. Fascinating yes, but I needed something cheerful for balance.”

In music, Dr Haapala is happy to follow the lead of his friends as to good performers and concerts. The sole exception to this is his keen enjoyment of Flow Festival, held in the old gasworks of Suvilahti.

“It's great that they can hold these events in the middle of the city. This year I was visiting some friends in Kalasatama right next door to Suvilahti and their balcony had a great view over the festival grounds.”

Dr Leevi Haapala at Flow Festival, August 2015.


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