this issue contains
>> The press on "25" in Berlin and "Dialog Skulptur" in Seligenstadt
>> Interview with Godmothers: Sadie Coles and Bärbel Grässlin

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People Mover: Advance Press on the Anniversary Exhibition “25”
and on the “Dialog Skulptur“ Show at the Kunstforum Seligenstadt



Rarely has a Deutsche Bank Collection show attracted so much advance publicity as “25”. While the anniversary show marking the 25th year of the Deutsche Bank Collection is only just opening, the stories and interviews are focusing on the goals and sustainability of the Bank’s involvement in art. That has partly to do with the fact that the German media, for instance the Handelsblatt or the taz, have been reporting more often on corporate social responsibility. In connection with that, the anniversary offers plenty of opportunities to look back at Deutsche Bank’s 25-year involvement with art, via press stories and interviews. Read an article here and here .

“People Mover” is the programmatic headline to the article in which Amanda Coulson looks back at the Collection’s history for the British magazine Art Review. For her, the social aspect of art in the Bank is at the center, whereby her opinion is decidedly positive. While an artist’s life is often associated with poverty, it’s understandable that people tend to imagine the world of banking as heartless and soulless, oriented purely on profits: “But for the Collection’s program, exactly the opposite is true.” Coulson describes the Bank’s pioneering efforts to show works of art in the workplace; she gathers statements from curators, bankers and art advisors and leads the reader through the Frankfurt headquarters. She writes that the fact that the floors of the main Frankfurt building are not numbered, but rather named after the artists whose works are displayed on each floor, is an indicator for the Bank’s sincerity of purpose. And should anyone have doubts about its acquisitions policy, they should take a look at the quality of the Collection and its innovative program – and especially at the enthusiasm of the employees.

Ulf Poschart was somewhat more critical in his interview with Dr. Tessen von Heydebreck in the Welt am Sonntag. As a member of the Board of Directors of Deutsche Bank, von Heydebreck is responsible for the areas of art, culture and social affairs, and he answered questions about this capacity. At the center of debate were less the exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim and more basic questions about commitment to art: “Many artists are left-leaning to radically left-wing. How is that compatible with DB’s liberal, capitalist basic understanding of itself? Are there any tensions or conflicts? Does a federal republic that must transform itself into an information and scientific society need cultural education?” von Heydebreck also provided information about the Bank’s total budget for cultural and social activities, some €70 million. The entire interview can be found here.

As director of the Deutsche Bank Collection and curator of the anniversary show “25” Ariane Grigoteit has had many interview requests. “The activities of the financial institution with Europe’s largest corporate art collection, which is now 25 years old, is sending out ever-more ripples,” states the Kunstzeitung ahead of its interview with Grigoteit and asks the director of the Collection about art as a commodity and factor in competitiveness. The Tagesspiegel published an extensive interview about the concept and realization of the exhibition. In an interview with Katrin Wittneven, Grigoteit talks about new acquisitions for the Collection and reveals why art in “the best stock” for a company. The full interview can be found here.

The German edition of Architectural Digest (AD) devoted several pages to the director of the Collection. In an article titled “The Treasurer”, Ulrich Clewing draws a multifaceted portrait of Grigoteit that makes clear how much personal commitment her work for the Deutsche Bank Collection demands: “Whatever. At any rate, the young woman is known for her persistence. And she knows that gentle diplomacy is often the best weapon, especially at the Bank. Art, it seems, can only profit form this.”

From the anniversary show in Berlin back to the Frankfurt area: the exhibition Dialog Skulptur at the Kunstforum Seligenstadt devotes itself to the development in sculpture from Classical Modernism to contemporary art, with some 100 works from the Deutsche Bank Collection. The presentation of works by artists such as Max Beckmann, Joseph Beuys, Bruce Naumann, Tony Cragg and Andrea Zittel met with excited interested among the regional press:

“Deutsche Bank’s art pool contains well-known pieces,” writes Carsten Müller in the Offenbach Post, and sees the exhibition in Seligenstadt as a “stroke of luck”. “Rarely does one have the chance to see pieces from the Collection, now in its 25th year of existence.” Müller pays particular attention to the thematic focus: “Going against the general trend towards painting, drawings, sketches, studies and sculptures are on display that stand in direct relationship to the disciplines or create thematic relationships with them. At times areas of conflict arise in the homey but clearly-hung show, which also such the viewer in.” It’s “not only Stephan Balkenhol’s sketches and models” that build bridges “between the genres; Max Beckmann’s sculpture Adam und Eva communicates congenially with Bildnis der Frau Heidel (1922) as do Thomas Bayrle’s wall-mounted traffic hell Shift (1994) and the delicate drawing Continental City (1978), projecting urban uniformity in the profile of an oversized tire.”