“Display of the Centuries. Frederick Kiesler and Contemporary Art” Exhibition

Austrian Cultural Forum NYC

poster for “Display of the Centuries. Frederick Kiesler and Contemporary Art” Exhibition

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Display of the Centuries. Frederick Kiesler and Contemporary Art at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York is dedicated to the work and ideas of the Austrian-American architect, designer, artist, and theoretician Frederick Kiesler, as 2015 marks not only the 50th anniversary of his death, and his 125th birthday, but also the 50th anniversary of the completion of his most famous work: the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. Sixteen contemporary artists examine strategies of representation and display, not only referencing the works of Frederick Kiesler, but also grappling with Raimund Abraham’s intricate design of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York building.

Curated by Peter BOGNER, the works on view contrast and often are at odds with the architectural conditions of the Austrian Cultural Forum’s interconnected gallery floors, and thus appropriate the space for themselves. With great sensibility for the arrangement and relationship of objects in their spatial environment, the participating artists use ideas of both Frederick Kiesler and Raimund Abraham to present them in new conceptual contexts through a collection of exhibition design concepts, and documentation joined by an ambitious series of installations in 3D animation, video, and sculptures.

What makes Frederick Kiesler a potent source of inspiration for contemporary artists and a link between 20th century modernism and 21st century schools of architecture? His theoretical works – especially the ones on Correalism, Kiesler’s term for the interaction of dynamics between man and his technological and natural environments have influenced a variety of art movements to this day. Both his theory of the “endless space” and his architectural projects have continued to inspire the architectural discourse and the perception of space in art. His compositions, which disintegrate and, in turn, redefine space, and his exhibition design, which has always included close collaborations with theoreticians and artists, have produced unique manifestos of art and architecture.

Throughout his international career, New York remained the center of Frederick Kiesler’s visionary avant-garde work. He coordinated the International Theatre Exposition in New York in 1926 and designed windows for Saks Fifth Avenue in 1928, a radical Space House for New York-based Modernage Furniture Company in 1933, and Peggy Guggenheim’s famous Art of This Century gallery, which opened in 1942. In 1947, Kiesler conceptualized the exhibition Bloodflames 1947 at the Hugo Gallery, which featured many leading artists of the time. He had the walls painted in different colors to transform the small gallery’s cubic forms into a seemingly endless space continuum.

Also in 1947, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp conceptualized a comprehensive Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at the Parisian Galerie Maeght, and asked Kiesler to participate as an architect and mediator. Among other projects, Kiesler created the Salle de Superstition (Room of Superstition), a cave-like Gesamtkunstwerk, which he described as “magical architecture”. Joan Miró, Marcel Duchamp, David Hare, and Max Ernst produced works under Kiesler’s direction, which were then integrated into this dynamic exhibition interior.

A veritable homecoming of Kiesler’s avant-garde ideas, Display of the Centuries. Frederick Kiesler and Contemporary Art continues his holistic approach to design and demonstrates the lasting vibrancy of his projects in the cutting-edge location of this exhibition, its composition, and the combination of the artists it features.

Peter BOGNER was born in 1963 in Vienna. He has been the director of the Austrian Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation in Vienna since 2013. Prior to this, he was the director of the Künstlerhaus Vienna. From 1998 to 2002, he acted as the secretary general for the Austrian Association of Modern Art Galleries, and from 2005 to 2011, he was the chairman of the Austrian Association of Art Historians. He studied art history at the University of Vienna and architecture under Hans Hollein at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.



from April 01, 2015 to July 27, 2015

Opening Reception on 2015-03-31 from 18:00 to 20:00

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