Talks | Booth D32

Talks: Next? is a series of conversations and discussions that take our current art world(s) as their point of departure and, with critical skepticism as well as hope, look ahead to  the possible futures of art. What will art’s producers and audiences want from contemporary art in the foreseeable future? What is a mega exhibition for? Can art achieve more equality in all areas? And if so, how? As part of  viennacontemporary’s daily program, critic/journalist Kimberly Bradley has assembled artists, museum directors, dealers, critics, and curators to speculate about  the possibilities of art — in Vienna and far beyond.

Friday, 27 September 2019
4:00–5:00 pmTalks: Next?
The long view: The future of art 

The structures of contemporary art are rapidly shifting alongside those in the world at large. What might be in store for art, based on current tendencies? More importantly, what might art-world practitioners and audiences want from future art, considering political issues, power hierarchies, and the attention economy? Taking writer Ben Davis’s short essay “Three Tendencies of Future Art” as a point of departure, Davis and the other panelists discuss how art production, discourse, modes of exhibition, institutions, and the market might evolve over the next decades.

  • Rahel Aima, writer/critic, New York/Dubai
  • Touria El Glaoui, founder of the I-54 art fair, London/Marrakech
  • Ben Davis, writer/critic, New York

5:30–6:30 pm Talks: Next?
Art world/real world: Can art find a way to effect change?
The art/politics dichotomy pits reality (or “reality”) against representation, but what happens when art and politics do manage to intersect and interact? Can artists, exhibition makers, curators, or other mediators bridge the gap between art and politics, as so many are currently attempting, or must the roles of art worker and citizen, of artist and activist remain separate? Our panelists discuss the potentials of action within the cultural sphere based on past and ongoing efforts. 

  • Gerrit Gohlke, New Patrons, Berlin
  • Ekaterina Degot, director, Steierischer Herbst, Graz
  • Tevž Logar, curator, Ljubljana

Saturday, 28 September 2019
2:30–3:30 pm | Talks: Next?
Next gen: Potentials in Vienna’s art scene

The past several years have seen multiple shifts in Vienna’s local art world—the openings of new galleries, the closures of several mid-size exhibition venues, a new city culture councilor, and this year, new leadership at the Kunsthalle, the art academy, and this very art fair. With novel impulses, excellent art education, and funding, what can – or should – Vienna strive for in the contemporary art field? What discourses would Vienna’s art scene want or need to tackle? Can contemporary art compete with better-funded fields, like music? An exploration of obstacles and possibilities.

  • Johann König, gallerist, Berlin
  • Moritz Stipsicz, cofounder, Phileas, Vienna
  • Luisa Ziaja, curator, Belvedere 21, Vienna


Saturday, 28 September 2019
4:00–5:00 pm | Talks: Next?
Rethinking the Biennale: The future of the mega exhibition

The art biennial first emerged in Venice in 1895 and was based on the nineteenth-century model of the World Expo, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the format metastasized, following the trajectory of globalization and neo-liberalization and reaching new cities and regions in both the Eurocentric center and the so-called periphery. Considering the notion of “biennialization” (large spectacle-based exhibitions infiltrating urban fabric or economically reactivating fallow regions or localities)  – what is the biennale for at this juncture? What could or should it be for? Is the biennial format viable for the next generation of artists and art viewers, in light of global challenges? This talk tackles the biennial’s next steps.

  • Paul Feigelfeld, curator, Vienna Biennale
  • Marieke van Hal, Head of Research and Development, Manifesta, and cofounder of the Biennial Foundation, Amsterdam
  • Senam Okudzeto, artist/educator, Basel/Accra

Sunday, 30 September 2019
3:00–4:00 pmTalks: Next?
Closing the gap: Concrete paths to gender (and intersectional) equality

Despite decades of activism and varying degrees of vocal protest, female art practitioners – along with other marginalized players in contemporary art – continue to cope with a lack of access to power structures (speak: money), gross oversights on the part of institutions, and stunning price gaps in the art market. As voices of dissent grow louder, what successes have we seen in recent months, and, more importantly, what collective action can be taken, on all sides, to make lasting changes going forward? This talk explores steps toward inclusion, diversity, and equality.

  • Sabine Breitwieser, curator, Vienna
  • Candice Breitz, artist/educator, Berlin
  • Ivet Ćurlin, WHW/codirector, Kunsthalle Wien, Zagreb/Vienna
  • Olamiju Fajemisin

4:30–5:30 pm Talks: Next?
What’s wrong with the contemporary art world … and how can we fix it?

How does the art world live with itself? (quote from New York’s art critic Jerry Saltz). Many others lament contemporary art’s existing structures, some of which are anachronistic, inflexible, perhaps even unethical, and may no longer apply to an uncertain future. Is the art world poised for a revolution? If so, which issues might spur it on and what might be possible or desired outcomes? This panel asks each speaker to air a grievance, explain it, and together discuss possible solutions, improvements, even desires, and dreams.

  • Dean Kissick, writer and critic, New York
  • André Nourbakhsch, attorney, Berlin
  • Senam Okudzeto, artist/educator, Basel/Accra