The curatorial collective Artist Project Group (Bernhard Garnicnig, Lukas Heistinger, and Andrea Steves) interrogates phenomena of capitalism through curatorial and artistic methods, in an attempt to build platforms for resilient aesthetic and artistic practices. In our project for curated_by with Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman and within the framing of Kelet, we continue to investigate the capitalist overproduction of meaning, including the recuperation of crisis phenomena into the market, and ask „What Can Artists Do Now?”

Following the workshop „Artists Have The Answers?“ and the online festival „What Would Artists Do?“, the exhibition integrates recently developed works – developed from the vantage point of the Artist-as-Consultant and/or offered as services – into the context of a fine-art gallery.  The exhibition troubles notions of audience, participant, material, and impact. In presenting what these artists are doing now, the works connect to a multitude of current crises – both acute and wide-ranging – that are inherent in capitalism and continuously producing its resultant conditions and intensifications. The works hook together and present an overall landscape of the present phenomenon and epiphenomenon of capitalism.

The Cybernetics-based model of business consultancy services is one of the most pervasive yet invisible global exports from the incipient Western Cold War information industry. Today, consultative industry continues its expansion into increasingly differentiated services, with its methods and services pervasively influencing decision making processes that govern public life. 
In the 90s, artists started to critically affirm their transforming role as service providers to institutions, yet their collective movement towards self-regulating their practice was often sidelined by discourses of critique and politics, putting an end to emancipatory initiatives to improve working conditions of artists. Artist Project Group is interested in replacing the concept of innovation with practices of maintenance, that is, maintaining practices through crisis by developing projects in which artists extend their performative knowledge practices as services to institutions, organizations and businesses.

Artists are purported to hold an important role in a changing society, yet their expertise is often undervalued, and their practices are rarely integrated with the processes where change happens. The constant expansion of capitalism continues even through war and crisis, an expansion that doesn’t exist outside of or separate from crisis and war, but rather intensifies through these periods: profiting and strengthening from them, feeding into them with weapons, solutions, technologies; that is, moving and shapeshifting into the gashes opened by war. Part of our position is acknowledging how artists can intervene in these ongoing logics.
Through the included works, which manifest in a range of forms and interventions in institutions, Artist Project Group attempts to sketch the outlines for resilient artist practices. This conceptualization of resilience is broadly applicable, from economic fluctuations to institutional structures within the art market to the critical self-valuation of artists’ work during times of severe crisis. What Can Artists Do Now? That is, how can artistic practices be maintained, become resilient, or set the conditions for resistance and transformation?

Artists:
Eglė Budvytytė, Juan Blanco (memeclassworldwide), Mateusz Dworczyk (memeclassworldwide), Bernhard Garnicnig (Artist Project Group), Lukas Heistinger (Artist Project Group), Lucie Kolb, Ramona Kortyka (memeclassworldwide), Jens Van Lathem (Bureau of Analogies/TWIIID), Mary Maggic, Scott William Raby (Bureau of Analogies/f.eks), Tobias Van Royen (Bureau of Analogies/TWIIID), Jennifer Merlyn Scherler (memeclassworldwide), Miriam Simun, Andrea Steves (Artist Project Group), Franz West

About the curators:
Artist Project Group is a collaboration between Lukas Heistinger, Bernhard Garnicnig and Andrea Steves. They employ performative and collective forms of organization-building in their curatorial and artistic practices to interrogate phenomena of capitalism.

Bernhard Garnicnig is an artist and researcher. He currently is lecturer of Artists’ Practices After Institutional Critique at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and formerly a researcher at the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Practices at IXDM HGK Basel. He co-founded several instituent projects such as memeclassworldwide, an experimental curriculum for post-digital practice, the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien, a historic surface dedicated to the projection of past, present and future alike; and Bregenz Biennale, a festival for ephemeral art in his hometown.

Lukas Heistinger (b. 1987 in Vienna, Austria) is an artist, designer, and educator based in Austria and the Netherlands. His work and collaborative practice of the recent years revolve around questions arising from corporate realities and the demands of artists to react it. He is the co-founder of the artist company Supergood, the arts association Artist Project Group and currently is a lecturer for ‘Creative and Critical Thinking’ at The Hague University. He studied Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, the Slade School of Art at UCL, London, and at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam, and is the recipient of the 2017 Startstipendium for Media Art.

Andrea Steves (b. 1983 Michigan, USA) is an artist, curator, researcher, and organizer based between Vienna, Austria and New York, USA, whose recent projects explore capitalism, climate change, public history, museums and monuments. Andrea is a co-founder and curator of Museum of Capitalism, a public museum that imagines the end of capitalism, which received the triennial Emily Hall Tremaine Curatorial Award for its exhibition in Oakland, California in 2017 has been exhibited in various forms in New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Vienna. Andrea co-edited the publication Museum of Capitalism, published in 2017 by Inventory Press and re-printed in an expanded edition in 2019. She is currently working on numerous publication and curatorial projects, including Let It Return, a publication and exhibition dealing with concepts of repatriation with Vienna-based curatorial collective Essential Services; The Upside-Down Museum: A Practice of Rethinking with visual artist Aldo Giannotti, and Framing Fallout: Irradiated Curation in the Time of Crisis, an exhibition and cross-disciplinary research group based at the University of California, Davis.

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