For a Special Place:
Documents and Works from the Generali Foundation Collection

Accompanying Program

Saturday, 24 February 2007, 5 to 7 pm, Austrian Cultural Forum 
Take the money and run?—Can political and socio-critical art “survive” in an increasingly commercialized environment?

Panel Discussion

Welcome by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Director ACF, New York
Introduction by Sabine Breitwieser, Director Generali Foundation, Vienna Alexander Alberro, Associate Professor of Art History, University of Florida, Gainesville
Andrea Fraser, Artist, Los Angeles
Mathias Poledna, Artist, Los Angeles
Martha Rosler, Artist, New York
Elisabeth Sussman, Curator, and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Ann Temkin, Curator, Department of Painting & Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Moderator: Chris Dercon, Director Haus der Kunst, Munich

Currently, European institutions are adopting the North-American system of public art centres and museums owned by trustees from the private sector. At the same time, there has been a dramatic increase in the power of private collectors, corporate art sponsoring, and the art market in general.


The Generali Foundation based in Vienna provides an interesting example and a surprising case study of a corporate art museum. “‘Die Foundation ist nicht Selbstzweck.’ The Foundation has a function: image transfer. It’s not art for art’s sake.”—reads a quote from one of the interviews conducted by artist Andrea Fraser, which is published in her "Report" on the function of art, or rather, the Generali Foundation as an art institute, for the sponsoring corporation. The explicit way in which the sponsor constantly reminds us of the raison d’être of this contemporary art association is somehow striking. On the other hand, we would be hard pressed to find a contemporary art institution that has been able to establish and maintain such an ambitious and distinctive program dealing with political, socio-critical art for the past twenty years. A program that is firmly anchored in the classical role filled by museums within our society, in conjunction with research, preservation, restoration, education, publication, and so on, in brief, one could speak of these tasks as (re)writing history.

Critical artists have always tried and succeeded in making art that moves beyond art’s commodification and the all-pervasive commercialization of today’s world. In parallel, curators and museum directors must develop strategies to establish suitable collaborations with artists and (re)presentations of art works.

Artists, critics, curators and museum directors will reflect on their experiences and discuss the topic together.

Organized by the Generali Foundation Vienna
in cooperation with the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York