For a Special Place:

Documents and Works from the Generali Foundation Collection

21 February through 3 May 2007

Place of exhibition: Austrian Cultural Forum, New York

The Generali Foundation, based in Vienna, presents a small but exclusive selection of its extensive collection at the Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF) in New York.

Established in 1988, the Generali Foundation promotes critical dialogue between the public and contemporary works of art, pursuing a distinctive program of exhibitions and publications, often in the context of broader research projects. Since its inception it has organized more than 80 exhibitions—15 of them abroad—and published more than 60 books.

The Generali Foundation Collection, which has been expanding steadily for nearly 20 years, represents the core activity of the Foundation and comprises more than 2,100 works by approximately 170 artists. Installation works, film, photography, video; in general, media that allow the production of art as a process have defined this unique collection for many years. Key works by pioneering Austrian artists of the 1960s and 1970s, such as VALIE EXPORT, Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, Gerhard Rühm, and Peter Weibel comprise the core of this collection. These works, some of which were considered radical in their time, are juxtaposed with works by international artists, such as Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Gordon Matta-Clark, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, and younger artists including Maria Eichhorn, Andrea Fraser, Klub Zwei, Dorit Margreiter, Mathias Poledna, and Florian Pumhösl.

Contrary to most public collections, the Generali Foundation Collection is very specific, with a focus on Conceptual art, crossovers between art, architecture, and design, and artistic practices critically analyzing (mass) media and addressing social and political issues. Over the past years, special attention has been paid to artists and works from former socialist countries near Austria dealing with these topics. An important group of works by artists including Sanja Ivecovic, Július Koller, Jaroslaw Kozlowski, Edward Krasinski, Ewa Partum, Marjetica Potrc and Goran Trbuljak has thus entered the collection.

"For a Special Place" is obviously a reference to the extraordinary site of the Austrian Cultural Forum. It also refers to space as the element that connects the displayed documents and art works while at the same time reflecting the special context of the Generali Foundation in general. The reference to space is sometimes present in artistic procedures related to the possibilities and methodologies of art practice; some of the works offer a pointed and concrete critique of contemporary social constructs or sociopolitical situations. Within the very limited space at ACF, this exhibition is not intended as a “best of” show of the Generali Foundation Collection, but rather, the exhibition’s discursive presentation highlights links between individual works in this “corporate” collection.

Concurrent with the exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum, seminal works by Gordon Matta-Clark from the Generali Foundation Collection are on view in the exhibition "Gordon Matta-Clark" at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Austrian Cultural Forum will be exhibiting "Untitled (Proposals for Museum of Modern Art, New York)"—ten drawings Matta-Clark made in 1978 featuring his ideas for a then planned extension of the MoMA.

Take the money and run?—Can political and socio-critical art “survive” in an increasingly commercialized environment?
On February 24 reputable representatives from the art and culture field will debate current developments, amongst others, Generali Foundation director Sabine Breitwieser, the artists Andrea Fraser, Mathias Poledna, and Martha Rosler, the curators Elisabeth Sussmann Whitney Museum of American Art) and Ann Temkin (Museum of Modern Art), art historian Alexander Alberro, and Chris Dercon (director Haus der Kunst, Munich) as moderator.

Exhibition Curator: Sabine Breitwieser
Assistant Curator: Bettina Spörr
Exhibition Coordination: Iris Klein (New York), Bettina Spörr (Vienna)

Artists represented in the exhibition:
Gottfried Bechtold, Ernst Caramelle, Maria Eichhorn, VALIE EXPORT, VALIE EXPORT/Peter Weibel, Harun Farocki, Andrea Fraser, Isa Genzken, Dan Graham/Robin Hurst, Hans Haacke, Hans Hollein, Werner Kaligofsky, Klub Zwei, Jaroslaw Kozlowski, Edward Krasinski/Eustachy Kossakowski, Dorit Margreiter/Mathias Poledna/Florian Pumhösl, Gordon Matta-Clark, Dóra Maurer, Gustav Metzger, Ewa Partum, Walter Pichler, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Franz West and Heimo Zobernig.