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Between Passion and Mission. International Symposium on the Public Relevance of Privately Founded Art Institutions

May, 20 and 21, 2022
Location: Sammlung Philara, Birkenstraße 47a, 40233 Düsseldorf

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What does socially relevant art patronage look like in the 21st century?

Starting from the four local institutions in the Rhineland Independent network, innovative potentials, public expectations and social responsibilities of private commitment to collecting and exhibition practice will be examined. The conference will combine academic lectures with contributions from international collectors and other patrons of the arts who will put their various initiatives for discussion. The aim is to explore the possibilities of a cultural infrastructure that is no longer based solely on the opposition of ‘public’ and ‘private’, but that uses synergies creatively and in a forward-looking way. For a lively and diverse museum landscape and for the benefit of all!

With contributions by Zita Cobb Co-Founder and CEO, Shorefast, Newfoundland and Labrador / Haro Cumbusyan & Bilge Ogut-Cumbusyan Founders, collectorspace, Istanbul / Mareike Dittmer Director of Public Engagement TBA21-Academy / Stefanie Heraeus Art Historian, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main / Belinda Holden Director, Yinka Shonibare Foundation, London / Katrin Holzmann Art Manager, Düsseldorf / Ina Klaassen Co-Director, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam / Susanne Kleine Exhibition Director and Curator, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn / Tobias J. Knoblich President, Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft e.V. / Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen Minister for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia / Nanette Snoep Director, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne / Reinhard Spieler Director, Sprengel Museum, Hanover; Board Member, German Museums Association / Olav Velthuis Cultural Sociologist, University of Amsterdam

A cooperation of Rhineland Independent (Julia Stoschek Collection, KAI 10 | ARTHENA FOUNDATION, Langen Foundation, Sammlung Philara) and the Institute for Art History of the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf (Master's programme Art Mediation and Cultural Management).

Supported by

Rhineland Independent

Foundations and collections of modern and contemporary art based on private initiative play a vital role in enriching the diversity of the cultural landscape of public museums, institutions, and artist-run spaces in the Rhineland. Driven by passion and a belief in social responsibility, private initiatives establish self-funded exhibition spaces, initiate art fellowships, make donations and provide loans, act as sponsors, and finance new productions. Alongside the concentrated creation of unique collections of emerging as well as established art, they support artists’ careers and pursue an archival mission.

With Rhineland Independent, four of these initiatives - Langen Foundation, KAI 10 I ARTHENA FOUNDATION, Sammlung Philara and Julia Stoschek Collection - will merge for the first time to jointly present their multifaceted programs and conceive new projects. The strength of this cooperation lies above all in the diversity, respective specialisation, and individual agenda of the given players. In the end, the multifarious institutional and thematic focuses mirror the diversity of a dynamic artistic discourse.

#hellofriend | April 2020

The spreading of the coronavirus worldwide has forced the cultural sector into a standstill. While also our gates remain closed, we – jointly as Rhineland Independent – will be asking people closely connected to the art system about the current situation in the cultural realm over the next weeks. How are colleagues elsewhere experiencing the crisis and which cultural future scenarios are conceivable there? The current situation has shown how strongly we are globally connected, and we certainly rely on a sense of solidarity and sharing in the global community when it comes to shaping a positive future. With #hellofriend we invite our international partners to an evaluation of culture in times of corona.

Art Düsseldorf | November 2019

The cooperation will kick off with a presentation of the Guerrilla Girls at Art Düsseldorf. The project comprises a selection of ten large format posters created by the feminist collective between 1985 and 2018. Such posters have played an important role in the group’s appearances in public ever since their founding in 1985. Using a combination of researched facts, provocative images and striking messages, the works address the issue of gender bias, ethnical discrimination and other asymmetries of power in the scope of institutions, art history and the art market. During their actions – targeting among others politics, the film industry and popular culture – the activists wear gorilla masks; none of the artists speak on their own behalf. Based on this anonymity the focus shifts toward the topics of their work: widespread mechanisms of segregation within the art world, contributing until today to an art and cultural landscape dominated by male protagonists.

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