Art (Hi)stories in the Steinernes Haus – To the People of the City

08.12.2012 — 03.02.2013

Opening: December 7, 2012, 15.30

The Frankfurter Kunstverein was founded in 1829 and has long enjoyed the status of a reputed international institution. In the late fall of 1962 the Kunstverein took up residence in the Steinernes Haus on the Römerberg, and since then it has presented some 400 exhibitions and thousands of events at this location. Until the founding of the Schirn Kunsthalle (1986), Portikus (1987), and the MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst (1991), the Frankfurter Kunstverein was the only major exhibition venue for contemporary art in Frankfurt am Main.

Many solo and group exhibitions presented at the Kunstverein were groundbreaking for their time. These include “Kunst im dritten Reich” (Art in the Third Reich) (1971) and “Das Bild des Körpers” (The Image of the Body) (1993), both milestones in contemporary exhibition history, as well as projects such as “deutschemalereizweitausenddrei”(2003), which set visitor records, and exhibitions like “Tales of Resistance and Change. Artists from Argentina” (2010), which was the subject of over 250 media reports worldwide. The cooperative project “Demonstrations. Making Normative Orders” (2012) included an extensive accompanying program with almost 40 events (each attended by up to 300 audience members) and garnered substantial media attention (including reports in SPIEGEL, ZEIT, FAZ, FR, SZ, taz, Bild, 3SAT, RTL, SAT1, HR, BR, and Deutschlandfunk)

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Frankfurter Kunstverein in the Steinerne Haus we looked back on our exhibition history at this location. A comprehensive anniversary program traced the development of the Kunstverein, the artistic currents that it has promoted, and the general and local historical contexts of its activities. Our aim was to present a portrait of the Kunstverein that brings together many different perspectives: the views of the institution’s former directors, members and friends, neighboring art institutions, the city and its inhabitants, and artists – thus creating a multi-faceted reflection on five decades of art (hi)stories at the Steinernes Haus. In addition to discussions and workshops, an “Art Slam!” a high-end auction benefitting the exhibition program of the Frankfurter Kunstverein, and “KunstMusik,” an evening of concerts and performances with artists from the Frankfurt area, was part of the anniversary celebration.

“Art (Hi)stories in the Steinernes Haus – To the People of the City” was a moment of review and reflection offering a perspective on the Frankfurter Kunstverein, its transformation and development, and its position within the past and present system of art. This model project represented a special moment in the art history of the past fifty years and was therefore preserved for the future in the form of a book.

Forming the backdrop for the anniversary program were two parallel exhibitions. Posters, publications, photographs, archival objects, and internal documents gave an overview of the activities of the Kunstverein.

Curators: Team FKV

This model project represents a special moment in the art history of the past fifty years and was therefore preserved for the future in the form of a book.

Exhibition Promoter