Whether he is playing the piano for his kids, visiting museums across the globe or creating an exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Joachim Homann finds joy in artistic expression.

As curator of the museum, he organizes exhibitions from start to finish. His “inevitable love of the material” brought him to Bowdoin. 

“I always liked drawing, and when I was twelve I really started to enjoy it. I just get a lot of pleasure out of looking at things, and even more pleasure out of discussing or conversing with people about the things I see.  I could spend hours and hours by just talking to friends about it,” said Homann. “I really enjoyed going to museums—they are safe places, inspiring, and fun. I always liked to travel—so to see the world en route to a museum was always my way of discovering things.”

Homann was born in Celle, Germany and obtained all of his historical training in Germany. He finished his Ph. D. at Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. He had access to world-renowned artists, who helped him discover his biggest dreams.

“At least three of the professors I was working most closely with had fellowships at the Harvard Art Museums, and they always came back raving about their experience,” said Homann.

“When I then learned that there was a two-year fellowship available at the Harvard Art Museum to learn how academic art museums functioned, I thought, ‘This is my opportunity.’”
During those years, he fostered a love for academic art museums. Leaving three siblings and his parents behind in Germany, he briefly taught at various institutions in the Boston area and in El Paso, Texas. He realized, however, that working with original artwork was what he liked best. Therefore, when the opportunity at Bowdoin presented itself, he took it.

“I love to work at Bowdoin and be steeped in more than two hundred years of democratic history,” said Homann. “People have been curious and cosmopolitan in Brunswick for a very long time.”

“Art is always irritating you; it is always driving you out of your comfort zone and it’s challenging your ability to learn. I think that’s such a fantastic thing to do on a college campus,” said Homann.

Outside of Bowdoin, Homann enjoys swimming at Simpson’s Point and cooking for friends—especially potato salad—and going for bike rides. His most recent endeavor was returning to one of his earlier hobbies—playing piano.

“I started earlier this year after a hiatus of 25 years, and the first thing I played was the Lego movie theme song for my kids on Facebook—they were traveling when I got the piano delivered. So many friends have liked the video that I am now working on a sequel.”

Along with his two sons, who are nine and four, he is learning about Judaism at Hebrew school—encouraged by his wife, Natasha Goldman, teaching associate in art history.

“There might be something special for a German to have an American Jewish wife. We are raising our children Jewish and to me it’s a fantastic experience,” said Homann. “It’s great to learn about and get to know the Jewish and interfaith community at Bowdoin. I always see that as a special privilege about being in the United States.”

Currently, Homann is helping to develop an upcoming exhibition, “Night Vision: Nocturnes in the American Art.”

“Many of these pieces are contemplative; they are very personal, and it seems that night paintings resonate in a very different way compared to other works of art,” said Homann. “You immediately relate them to your own experience of the night, you connect them to the world that you see at night. It gets you emotionally involved right away.”