Constructing Paradise

Constructing Paradise

Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY)

January 24, 2017
Constructing Paradise
February 1–April 24, 2017
Opening: January 31, 6–9pm
Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY)
11 East 52nd Street
New York, NY 10022

T +1 212 319 5300
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Artists on view: 
Paul Gauguin, Oskar Kokoschka, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Dion, Nives Widauer, Kara Walker, Mathias Kessler, Mickalene Thomas, Marissa Lôbo, Christian Kosmas Mayer, Hugo Canoilas, Moussa Kone

Curated by Dieter Buchhart
Curatorial Advisor: Mathias Kessler

Opening: January 31
6–7pm: Artist talk with Mathias Kessler, Marissa Lôbo, Christian Kosmas Mayer, Nives Widauer, and curator Dieter Buchhart
7–9pm: Reception featuring a performance by Marissa Lôbo 

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is pleased to present Constructing Paradise, a group exhibition curated by Dieter Buchhart and Mathias Kessler exploring the themes and history of the “exotic” and its interpretation in contemporary art. 

The rapid industrialization and urbanization in the late 19th century led society to yearn for a sense of newness and otherness in the face of the modernizing world. As artists like Gauguin became entranced by faraway places, a novel category of imagery illustrating a previously unseen and “undiscovered” part of the world began to pervade the West­ern canon. The idea of a “wild, untouched exotic” emerged as a product of colonialism, as many of the same justifications for colonial rule also fueled Western curiosity of these foreign lands, making way for a revised colonial narra­tive: creating desire-worlds that existed to fulfill Western dreams and desires.

Constructing Paradise exhibits contemporary reinterpretations of notions of the “exotic” by artists based in Austria and the United States. Taking artworks such as Paul Gauguin’s Noa Noa and Oskar Kokoschka’s Tiger Cat as starting points, the show assembles a diverse range of work from early contemporary to more recent artistic responses to the modernist imprint of desire and fantasy on contemporary culture. Particularly when juxta­posed with hyperbolized images of modern-day advertising, the exhibition explores the psychological impacts of the modernist image on image culture and the Western psyche. 

About the curator
Dieter Buchhart
 is a curator and art theorist. He completed his doctoral studies in art history and restoration science, and has curated numerous exhibitions in renowned international museums and art spaces. He has served as director of the Kunsthalle Krems near Vienna, and has been known for his critical work, contributing to several monographs and art publications such as Kunstforum International. As an art theorist he has contributed many catalogue essays, magazine articles, and lectures, his research focus ranging from Expressionism to contemporary art. 
About the Austrian Cultural Forum
With its architectural landmark building in Midtown Manhattan, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York is dedicated to innovative and cutting-edge programming, showcasing the best of Austrian contemporary art, music, literature, perfor­mance, and academic thought in New York and throughout the United States. In addition to presenting three group exhibi­tions per year in its multi-level gallery space and housing around 10,000 volumes of Austriaca in its state-of-the-art library, it hosts over 100 free events per year in its own auditorium and supports at least as many projects at partner institutions across the nation. Visit for more information.

Media contact
Judith Brand
jbrand [​at​] / T +1 (212) 319 5300 ext. 78

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Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY)
January 24, 2017

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