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Vienna Art Week 2018 opens its 14th edition
Antarktika, Kunsthalle Wien. © Bernhard Staehli.

VIENNA.- Today saw the much-anticipated kick-off for Vienna Art Week 2018, now in its 14th edition. Promising Paradise is the promising motto of this year’s art week, when Vienna’s vibrant art scene enters the limelight with a high-profile program ranging from classical offerings to avant-garde art. The program was presented this morning at a press conference attended by performance expert RoseLee Goldberg (founding director of Performa, New York), Johanna Schwanberg (director of Dom Museum Wien) and Karim El Seroui (artist and founder of Creative Cluster Traktorfabrik), who discussed the festival motto.

For Robert Punkenhofer (artistic director of Vienna Art Week), the concept of paradise is a recurring subject in art. “Apart from the broad range of utopian and dystopian representations, art is also often about criticizing promises of paradise used by politicians.”

For RoseLee Goldberg, paradise is “a kind of parody of Brueghel, or Bosch. It is about utopias that can partly also be dystopian. None of it is static; promises are ideas in motion. We are longing for a more humane and caring world, a place where true feelings matter.”

South African-born art historian, author and curator RoseLee Goldberg is the founding director of the New York-based performance institute Performa, which has hosted an eponymous performance biennial since 2005. Performa’s objective is to highlight the importance of live performance in the 21th century and to support new performance projects.

Goldberg’s conversation with Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein and Robert Punkenhofer is definitely the highlight of a line-up on Tuesday, 7:15 pm, at the MAK, where panelists also include Kaucyila Brooke, Hanakam & Schuller, Carola Dertnig, Joep van Lieshout and Christopher Chaplin.

The art festival’s umbrella organization Art Cluster welcomes Dom Museum Wien on Stephansplatz as a new member. Johanna Schwanberg has directed the museum since 2013 and is a lecturer at the Art History department of the University of Applied Arts. On Wednesday (6 pm), the Styrian artist Hannes Priesch’s performance “Wund E rrr N” at Dom Museum explores the fine line between wounds and wonders.

Artist Karim El Seroui is the founder of Creative Cluster Traktorfabrik. The former tractor factory in Vienna’s district of Floridsdorf serves 42 artists including 15 scholarship holders of the Academy of Fine Arts as a studio. The building is open to the public on all Vienna Art Week days from 11 am to 9 pm.

Martin Böhm (president of Art Cluster Vienna): “Our aim for Vienna Art Week is to strengthen Vienna as a hub of art by integrating all relevant actors of the city’s cultural life and showcasing Vienna internationally as a center of top-class art production and art trade.”

This year’s motto Promising Paradise is picked up not only by Vienna’s leading art museums, academies and galleries, but also by numerous independent art spaces, whose broad range of exciting programs entices visitors to explore Vienna’s art scene off the beaten track.

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