Page start


Stella Rollig in conversation with Maribel Königer and Lois Renner

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Art and Art Criticism – A Relationship Gone Cold?

Does anyone still read art critiques? What significance does art criticism have for artists themselves? Are there critical reviews that hurt, are there judgments that can be learned from?

The impulse for this discussion came from the current exhibition Troublemakers (on display until 18 May 2008). This path through Austrian art history from the 1860s to the 1960s demonstrates that leading artists initially had to insist on their work against disparagement and aggression. Their adversaries were journalists and critics – hostile, merciless, arrogant. "Badly drawn", "coarsely sketched" were still the most harmless judgments. Critics raged as though berserk.

And today?
Art criticism seems to have lost its significance. The general diagnosis: binding standards for quality have been dropped; instead of competent judgments there is nothing but subjective impudence or marketing announcements. Yet at the same time, art magazines are flourishing, new titles are constantly appearing. What is going on? Reason enough to question the art journalist Maribel Königer and the artist Lois Renner about the relationship (crisis) between their guilds.

Lois Renner
Born 1961 in Salzburg/Austria. Lives and works in Vienna
Hochschule Mozarteum, Salzburg; Rheinische Kunstakademie, Düsseldorf
Msgr. Otto Mauer Prize
Professor for Artistic Photography at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe
Solo exhibitions (selected): Salzburger Kunstverein; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Landesgalerie am Oberösterreichischen Landesmuseum; Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach; Kunsthalle Tübingen; Overbeck-Gesellschaft, Lübeck
Participation in group exhibitions at home and abroad.

Maribel Königer
Art historian, author and journalist. Lives since 2001 in Vienna. Worked in the 1990s as art critic and freelancer for many German-speaking media and art magazines in Paris, including the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Focus, Vogue, Kunstforum International, Springer, Kunst-Bulletin. 1996 to 1997 press officer for the documenta X in Kassel, 1997 to 2000 press officer for the Culture and Event Program, the Theme Part and the Worldwide Projects of the World Expo 2000 in Hannover.
2001 to 2006 PR work and director of the studio of Lois Renner. Since January 2007 head of communication for the ERSTE Foundation ( Since 2005 President of the Austrian Section of the International Association of Art Critics AICA (


background image:

Photo: © maschekS.