VBKÖ – Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs


The Art of Women – Friends and Accomplices

The Art of Women – Friends and Accomplices
A series of four exhibitions


Opening: 3 December 2015
4 December 2015 – 20 March 2016

Why name an exhibition The Art of Women in 2015? – Evidently, there is no Art of Women and there never has been. More than 100 years ago, it might have been appropriate to take this label up in order to be heard and seen. Today the title seems thoroughly anachronistic. The Art of Women, 2015/16, however, starts with a certain (deliberate) anachronism: the title references the first exhibition the VBKÖ had in 1910, and the formats of Christmas Show, Trade-off Show, and Five O´Clock Tea are thus reactivated under current conditions. The repetition does not only speak of potentials and risks today but allows a look into past values, social and cultural ascriptions, either to re-identify, reject or to turn over a new leaf.

The Art of Women, curated by Barbara Steiner, shows works of contemporary artists who deal with current economic conditions and with the history of the VBKÖ in equal measure. Performances in Künstlerhaus and Secession – also highly important places in the history of VBKÖ – contribute to the exhibition in the VBKÖ´s own spaces. Display, catalogue and webpage, designed by buero bauer Vienna, give insight to the conflict-laden relationship between art and economy but also to emancipatory ideas connected to self-acting economies. Contrary to past decades, the VBKÖ today is a non-profit organisation, which finances its programme through subsidies.

The title The Art of Women refers to the very first exhibition organised by the VBKÖ at the Viennese Secession in 1910. In 2015/16, the title pays tribute to the historic achievements of the Austrian Association of Women Artists, on one hand, and on the other hand, it marks a contrast from the predominant image of women at the beginning of the 20th century. Meanwhile, the image of the VBKÖ has been transformed to queer notions of identities.

Barbara Steiner is a curator, author and visiting professor for Cultures of the Curatorial at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. She lives in Vienna and Leipzig.

buero bauer is one of the leading interdisciplinary design offices in Austria. It does commissioned work, design research and self-initiated projects in equal measure.

Artists: Elke Auer, Catharina Bond, Veronika Dirnhofer, Barbara Eichhorn, Lizzy Fidler, Hilde Fuchs, Julia Gaisbacher, Brigitte Kovacs, Christian Helbock/Markus Lobner, Alejandra Loreto, Anna Meyer, Lilo Nein, NO Future Complex, Marion Porten, Isa Rosenberger, Johannes Schweiger, Sekretariat für Geister, Archivpolitiken und Lücken (Nina Höchtl/Julia Wieger), Tatia Skhirtladze, Esther Straganz

1 2-neu 3 4 6 5 7
Fotos: Max Kropitz

The Art of Women is part of the multi-annual project Friends and Accomplices. It places emphasis on how to respond to processes of economisation from the perspective of artists and art institutions, without abandoning an interest in communality and common goods. The subtitle refers to friendship and complicity as important factors through which institutions are founded and shaped. Complicity is understood in two ways: On the one hand, it can be seen as a strategic bond, which allows pushing an emancipatory agenda, and on the other hand, it shows powerful political and economic entanglements, which hinder emancipation.

The Art of Women is realised in cooperation with AK Wien – Kultur.


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