Hard to Sell, Good to Have – Exhibition project and discussion platform

Hard to Sell, Good to Have is a project initiated by Alexandra Grausam and Elsy Lahner, who together manage the Kunstverein das weisse haus, and will be launched on Nov 11, 2010. In cooperation with different art leading experts this discussion platform is addressing to the topic of art and economic systems for artists.

Some art mesmerizes and inspires us, because it takes its space, expanding and conquering it, conveying a certain atmosphere; art is a rare fascination maybe because it exists only in this right moment – a sound installation that sets a whole room into oscillations, a delicate or violent room installation, a light installation suggesting a menacing situation, a foam sculpture that can collapse every minute, objects that are put together into a sculpture only for a short period of time, a performance that you experience only right here and right now.

Exactly these aspects make come up questions regarding the saleability of art. What happens if this excitement increases to the point to want this art for us?

How do we deal with art that is hard to sell, because it takes up too much space, because it is too loud and flashy or just because it engages with inconvenient topics? How can art be collected, if it is difficult to store or if only a written note proves its existence?

These are questions as they have already been raised and given attention with art genres like Conceptual Art, Land Art, Fluxus or Happening since the 1960s. Artists have been refusing the art market or created works opening new dimensions.
Hard to Sell, Good to Have is picking up these questions in the present context, exploring the status quo based on current examples. In a discussion platform an open debate is stimulated – the public, art aficionados and potential art collectors as well as artists should be challenged by the topic.

The main part of Hard to Sell, Good to Have is an exhibition. Works from different fields like video, video installation, space installation, light installation, odour installation, sound installation, media art and performance will mainly be shown – art genres often seen as more institutional art, raising questions concerning their collectability due to spatial, time-based or technical factors. The idea is to present various media and working methods discussing the above-mentioned topic.

In the middle of September 2010 a board of trustees consisting of Alexandra Grausam, Barbara Horvath, Elsy Lahner und Axel Stockburger has selected projects, which were offering the most interesting aspects and the ones emphasizing best its diversity among the submitted applications.

Along with the project a publication, including a collection of statements on the topic, will also be realized; experts of different areas inform about the selling, the collection, the preservation of art and discuss – up until now still – unsolved problems elucidating them through different case studies.

In addition everyone can post statements on the blog of the www.hardtosell.at website.

Next to guided tours with alternating emphases, a panel, where experts deal with Hard to Sell, Good to Have examining its different aspects, will take place in cooperation with “departure” during the duration of the exhibit.

Last but not least the project will be closed by an auction directed by Mag. Andrea Jungmann, managing director of Sotheby’s Austria, where selected art works involved in the exhibition will be put on auction. At the same time this event is also meant to demonstrate the art market and to finalize the discussion around it.

The exhibition takes place in the Palais Sturany, which was built by the architects Fellner and Helmer in 1874. It allows lots of diverse room situations and is situated at the Schottenring 21. It’s numerous rooms, from a ceremonial room and studying room to a spiral stair with lots of details and décor make the exhibition venue an outstanding place for the project.



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