press release

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is entering the year 2009 with a group show featuring works by well-known Austrian and international "troublemaker" artists.

The objective of the exhibition is to visualize the meeting of artistic provocation and creativity with institutional practice. Artistic positions have a formative influence on institutional structures on various levels. Museums are the focal point and testing ground of the encounter.

Artists are the actual critical and transformative potential; they are the "troublemakers" who want to reflect, reconstruct, rethink, and reinvent the existing social order and its conditions. Throughout art history they have evoked reactions ranging from press agitation to the resignation of politicians, the birth of social movements, acts of emancipation, the destruction of works of art, and even the arrest of artists. Many of these provocateurs experienced horrific processes of public rejection and discrimination. Independent of sociopolitical conditions, however, some achieved recognition, and occasionally their works became the subject of institutional and academic studies.

Günter Brus is one such artist. In the 1960s, the oeuvre of this actionist was the quintessence of resistance. On June 7, 1968, Günter Brus, Oswald Wiener, Otto Mühl, and several others organized the large-scale action titled Kunst und Revolution (Art and Revolution) in the main auditorium at Vienna University. It was denounced by the press as the "university obscenity" and led to the criminal prosecution of several artists, above all Günter Brus. Representatives of the more recent generation, such as Martin Kippenberger, Dorit Margreiter, Sofie Thorsen, Olafur Eliasson and Diana Thater have also been actively involved in utopian and scientifically and politically radical issues.

Creative artists often move in a utopian arena and in their radicalism are important reflectors of society. In the context of this exhibition, the museum as an institution returns to its beginnings as a place for the documentation of resistance and as a corrective force in a contradictory society.

This exhibition marks the premiere of the ACFNY's new interactive visitor's guide provided by the Austrian Company NOUS-Guide.

Artists Günter Brus, Clegg & Guttmann, Olafur Eliasson, Martin Kippenberger, Dorit Margreiter, Diana Thater, Sofie Thorsen

Producer Andreas Stadler Curator Peter Pakesch Curatorial Consulting Elisabeth Fiedler Exhibition Coordination Elisabeth Haider (New York), Elisabeth Ganser (Graz) Editorial Assistance Karin Meisel Exhibition Assistants Natascha Boojar, Karin Meisel, Isabella Schrammel, Kerstin Schuetz-Mueller, Maria Simma

In cooperation with Landesmuseum Joanneum, Kunsthaus Graz, Neue Galerie Graz. With generous support from the Office of the Styrian Government, Austrian Airlines, NOUS-Guide Supporting institutions of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York: Austrian Airlines, Botstiber Foundation, RZB Finance, Zumtobel Staff

EXHIBITION OPENING: Tuesday, December 9, 2008, 12 noon – 8 pm

The Artist As Troublemaker
Kurator: Peter Pakesch

Künstler: Günter Brus, Clegg & Guttmann, Olafur Eliasson, Martin Kippenberger, Dorit Margreiter, Diana Thater, Sofie Thorsen