Talks 2016

Collectors Forum
Going Public
Collectors Forum is a series of talks dealing with the subject of collecting art in the context of a globalized art scene. This year’s theme „Going Public“ is curated by Julien Robson who will speak with notable art collectors about the visions underlying private collections and the motivations of art collectors to present their collections to the general public. The series will discuss new models of private museums and their role in the development of contemporary art, the engagement to support the development of new artworks, the important role collectors have in shaping the contemporary art world, and how to initiate a broader discussion around contemporary art in society.

Julien Robson is an independent curator and advisor, he lives and works in the USA and Austria. He is the founding director of Great Meadows Foundation, Kentucky (2016).


Keys to Contemporary Art
Public Image
As countries around Europe begin to bow and cower under new tides of nationalism, the notion of “the public” – what that includes and whom it excludes – must be renegotiated. Curated by writer Kate Sutton, this year’s Keys to the Contemporary Art, “Public Image,” brings together a series of conversations, panel discussions and presentations that look at the art through the lens of its various “publics.”

Kate Sutton, Zagreb, is an international journalist, art critic, and a regular contributor to since 2008.




1:00–2:00 pm
Collectors Forum
Going Public: The Impact of Private Foundations
Julien Robson in conversation with
Paolo Falcone, founder and artistic director, Fondazione Sambuca, Palermo, IT
Miguel Leal Rios, director and curator, Fundação Leal Rios, Lisbon, PT
Private foundations can operate in unique ways, employing focused collecting concepts, as well as innovative and flexible frameworks to present art and engage the public. Through philanthropy they augment and expand the role of contemporary art in communities, especially in a time when public cultural spending is declining. Miguel Rios and Paolo Falcone will talk about the histories, ambitions, and roles of Fundação Leal Rios and Fondazione Sambuca. The panel will discuss motivations for creating private foundations and the impact they can have on the contemporary art world, as well as how they benefit artists and audiences both locally and globally.

3:00–4:00 pm
Keys to Contemporary Art
Public Relations: Institutions and their Audiences
Moderator: Bharti Lalwani, writer and critic, Pune, IN
Diana Campbell Betancourt, artistic director, Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka/Sylhet, Bellas Artes Projects, Bagac, chief curator, Dhaka Art Summit
Snejana Krasteva, curator, Garage MCA, Moscow, RU
Başak Şenova, independent curator, Istanbul, TR
Once the primary instruments for scripting national narratives, public museums are often slow to respond to the changes in the demographics that these narratives traditionally privileged. This conversation brings together curators working in different contexts and formats to call into question how they define their “public,” and how they then attempt to understand the expectations and needs of that audience, whether in a traditional museum, a contemporary art space, or a biennale setting. Drawing on case studies ranging from the Dhaka Art Summit, the National Gallery of Singapore, the D-0 Ark Project Biennial in Konjic or even museums here in Vienna, the panel participants will consider what responsibilties do art institutions bear as public institutions and what do they see as the value in the various models for interacting with their audiences.

4:00–5:00 pm
Media Talks! – Media Zone | G07/G10 in conversation with Riivo Anton
Moderator: Irene M. Gludowacz, author, curator, communications expert for foundations, museums, and corporations in the international art world, Vienna, AT
Riivo Anton, founder Innopolis Group – now Civitta Company, EE
The most relevant processes taking place in today’s Baltic art scene, as well as the role and influence of collectors therein, will be the focus of’s public discussion. One topic that will be touched upon is Riivo Anton’s work on the Estonian art index – the source of inspiration for the initiative, the project’s goals, and what the process looks like behind-the-scenes.
Riivo Anton is one of the most energetic of the new-generation of art collectors in the Baltics. Among his interests are not only today’s art processes and phenomena, but also graphic prints created during Estonia’s Soviet era. Anton is recognized throughout the region for his ambitious initiative of creating an Estonian art index.

5:00–6:00 pm
Keys to Contemporary Art
The Greater Good: Beyond the Immediate Public
Moderator: Kate Sutton, writer, Zagreb, HR
Heidi Ballet, independent curator, Brussels / Berlin, DE
Stefanie Hessler, writer and curator, TBA21-Academy, Vienna / Stockholm, AT / DE
The poster children of civic virtue, cultural institutions are often exempted from having to think too deeply about their stewardship of natural resources and the ways in which they are used for “the good” of the audience. This talk offers a case study of an initiative that looks beyond its immediate audience to try to imagine new processes of knowledge production to help develop creative solutions for the environmental issues that now affect a truly global community. Founded in 2015 by TBA21 chairperson, Francesca von Habsburg, “The Current” is a three-year exploratory fellowship program that sends artists, architects, curators and scientists on research expeditions in the Pacific, the frontlines of climate change. Joining organizers and participants of “The Current” on stage will be Heidi Ballet, curator of “Our Ocean, Your Horizon,” the 2016 Satellite program at Jeu de Paume, and co-curator of the upcoming Lofoten International Art Festival 2017.


11:30 am–12:30 pm
Sales and Interest in Russian Сontemporary Art: Market Research
Moderator: Ksenia Podoynitsyna, gallerist and founder, Gallery 21, Moscow, RU
Marina Sitnina, executive vice-president, Gazprombank (JSC), curator Art Banking and corporate collection, Moscow, RU
Irina Stepanova, managing director, Sotheby’s Russia, Moscow, RU
The talk is dedicated to the Russian contemporary art market, its structure, and factors. It presents an economical overview as well as a look into purchase decisions and an analysis of the demand of national and international collectors. The report provides results of the analysis conducted on the basis of the survey completed by market professionals, including galleries, dealers, experts, critics, curators, information of online resources, Russian and foreign auction houses.

1:00–2:00 pm
Collectors Forum
Going Public: Personal Vision, Public Space
Julien Robson in conversation with
Timo Miettinen, Miettinen Collection, founder, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin/Helsinki, chairman of the board, Teleste Oyj, Finnland / Finland, DE/FI
Alain Servais, investment banker, entrepreneur, collector and opinionated, Brussels, BE
While the image of private collections going public is dominated by larger museum formats, like those in the “Miami model”, many collectors open their collections to audiences in a more intimate and perhaps more personal way. Highlighting two differing approaches, this conversation explores the motivation to collect, what makes an artist valuable to a collector, and what motivates a collector to share their collection publicly – with whom and why?

3:00–4:00 pm
Keys to Contemporary Art
Public Speech: Grounds for Contestation
Moderator: Bharti Lalwani, writer and critic, Pune, IN
Kevin Kenjar, linguist, anthropologist, Mostar, BA
Shubigi Rao, artist, Singapore, SG
Ștefan Sava, artist, Bucharest, RO
If language is the means through which histories and national narratives are built, then language is also the tool that can help alter these histories. Moderated by writer and critic Bharti Lalwani, this conversation looks at how public information is shaped, regulated and manipulated through language, with insight from linguist Kevin Kenjar, who has been researching how subtle linguistic shifts can form communities, artist Shubigi Rao, who recently published the first installment of the five-volume book, “Pulp: A Short Biography of the Banished Book”, and Ștefan Sava, an artist who has been actively engaged in excavating suppressed narratives from the recent history of Romania.

5:00–6:00 pm
Keys to Contemporary Art
Public Practice: Artist Milica Tomić in conversation with Amy Bryzgel
Dr. Amy Bryzgel, senior lecturer in film and visual culture, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, GB
Milica Tomić, artist, professor, IZK Institute for Contemporary Art, Graz, AT
One of the founders of Grupa Spomenik, Milica Tomić explores different genres and methods of artistic practice that centers on investigating, unearthing and bringing to public debate issues related to political violence, economic underpinnings and social amnesia. Dr. Amy Bryzgel has also been working to make histories more visible through her research into contemporary art of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, and Russia. Selections of this research have been compiled into the online archive “Performing the East”. In their talk, Tomić and Bryzgel will consider the ability of performance to create a public image – quite literally “publicizing” – ideas and events previously rendered invisible within collective memory.


11:30 am–12:30 pm
Cinema Talk: Has the Market Failed?
Moderator: Olaf Stüber, curator, Berlin, DE
Carlos Duran, founder and co-director, LOOP Barcelona, founder, Galeria Senda, Barcelona, ES
Dr. Markus Hannebauer, fluentum Collection, Berlin, DE
Alain Servais, investment banker, entrepreneur, collector and opinionated, Brussels, BE
Since its beginnings in the 60s, video has become one of the preeminent media of contemporary art production, equalling the importance of classical media like painting and photography. This is evidenced by the fact that a vast majority of contemporary art exhibitions feature at least one video projection. Even though many important galleries represent one or more artists working in new media, video art is still facing a lot of problems trying to assert itself on the art market. From very early on, certain questions or even reservations have been persistent when it comes to purchasing a work of art shot on video: What do I actually get? How can I be sure that what I get is an original work? What may I do with the purchased work? To whom may I show it? The panel will discuss these and other problems surrounding the topic of video art some 50 years after its beginnings and tries to find solutions.

1:00–2:00 pm
Collectors Forum
Going Public: Bringing New Media Art to the Public
Julien Robson in conversation with
Isabelle & Jean-Conrad Lemaître, Collection Isabelle & Jean-Conrad Lemaître, FR
Already having collected contemporary art for over a decade, in 1996 Isabelle and Jean-Conrad Lemaȋtre began to focus on collecting video art. They started by acquiring works by well known figures and, over time, have come to focus more on emerging artists. Twenty years on they have created one of the most significant collections of video art in the world. Talking about their origins as collectors and the vision they have developed, the Lemaȋtres will also discuss their philanthropic activities, supporting young artists and promoting video art to broader audiences through their work with the “LOOP” video fair in Barcelona and the “Video Video” festival they founded in Burgundy.

3:00–4:00 pm
curated by_vienna: [My Origins? I Made Them Up]
Sabeth Buchmann, art historian and critic, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Vienna, DE/AT
Diedrich Diederichsen, author, journalist, art critic, Vienna, DE/AT
With his eponymous essay “Meine Herkunft habe ich mir selbst ausgedacht” [My Origins? I Made Them Up] Diedrich Diederichsen has created the theoretical basis for this year’s edition of the gallery festival curated by_vienna. With Sabeth Buchmann he talks about artistic claims of innovation, which today are premised less on the cutting-off of lines of tradition but rather on the rediscovery and reinvention of precursors.

4:00–5:00 pm
Media Talks! – Media Zone | G07/G10
Collectors Agenda
Nordic Notes: On Stockholm’s expanding art scene.
Collectors Agenda in conversation with
Erik Nordenhake, gallerist, Stockholm, SE
The Nordic scene for contemporary art is expanding, underpinned by a growing collector scene and the arrival of new, promising emerging artists to the market. Yet what’s happening in the region tends to stay in the region. Relatively few artists from Scandinavia have so far been able to obtain international recognition. Erik Nordenhake, young gallerist in Stockholm, believes it’s about time for changing that, and for Sweden’s art sector to go more international. Collectors Agenda will talk with him about how he sees Stockholm’s art scene developing, the young generation of collectors, and how they find access to contemporary art.

5:00–6:00 pm
Young Collectors Talk
Moderator: Katharina Zimmer, art historian, co-founder of Fanny, Berta, head of private clients section, Aon Fine Art Insurance, Vienna, AT
Frank Krikhaar, Global CSR Director, Dentsu Aegis Network, collector, London, GB
Arena Martinez, young collector, Madrid, ES
The younger generation of collectors speaks about their approaches to collecting contemporary art.


11:30 am–12:30 pm
Focus Talk: Speculating On The Future of Alternative Art Spaces
Moderator: Adela Demetja, independent curator, founder, Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art, AL
Branka Bencic, curator, director, Apoteka Space for Contemporary Art, HR
Jadranka Plut, artistic director, Galerija Alkatraz, SI
Nada Prlja, artist, initiator, SIA Gallery, MK
Slobodan Stošic, artist, RS
Participants of the viennacontemporary special presentation Focus Ex-Yugoslavia and Albania talk about the contemporary art scene from the region.

1:00–2:00 pm
Collectors Forum
Going Public: Private Collection, Public Resource
Julien Robson in conversation with
Patricia Vergez, Juan and Patricia Vergez Collection, Buenos Aires, AR
Beginning in the late 1980s, Juan Vergez and Patricia Pearson-Vergez have gone on to build a collection of international contemporary art that is world renowned. As well as presenting and rotating their collection in Tacuari – a four storey building which used to be a former ink factory in the center of Buenos Aires – they actively collaborate with museums and lend works to important exhibitions. In this conversation Patricia Pearson-Vergez discusses the history and focus of the Vergez collection, the couple’s relationships with artists and institutions, and how and why they share their collection with the public.

3:00–4:00 pm
Keys to Contemporary Art
The Public Life of Art
João Ribas, deputy director and senior curator, Serralves Museum, Porto, PT
Kate Sutton, writer, Zagreb, HR
The public life of artworks and images is becoming increasingly precarious today. From acts of iconoclasm to increased forms of censorship, what we can see, hear, feel, and share in public is subject to increasing political, social, and spatial constriction – from both the violence of global terror and the repression of conservative politics. What is the threat posed by images and sculptures that they should be the focus of contemporary forms of violence and crime, that the publicness of art should be so constricted? What defines our public relation to the images that live in our pockets and permeate our lives, that we touch and like, and the global art that fills the walls of the contemporary art institutions? Do we have a responsibility with caring for, and defending, the public life of the imagination? Curator João Ribas will attempt to answer some of these questions, before a conversation with writer Kate Sutton.

5:00–6:00 pm
Keys to Contemporary Art
Public Figures: The International Local
Moderator: Kate Sutton, Writer, Zagreb
Abaseh Mirvali, independent project producer and curator, Mexico City/Berlin, MX/DE
Dirk Snauwaert, director, WIELS, Brussels, BE
This September saw biennales simultaneously opening in São Paolo, Gwangju and Bergen, sending art-worlders scrambling to be everywhere and see everything, all at once. Ubiquity and access have been equated with expertise, and every project – no matter what scale – must, to some extent, address this international audience. Is there still value to be gleaned from this kind of system? What kind of knowledge are we creating? Are there ways to champion deeper engagement with a single scene while still acknowledging the overarching global context? These are some of the questions to be discussed with respected curators Dirk Snauwaert and Abaseh Mirvali, curator of this year’s Solo Expanded.