Testimonials Visiting Critics Vienna 2023

Verein K’s Visiting Critics Vienna is an intense and vibrant residency program. It is one of the only existent residency programs that directly supports the professional development of art critics, whose intellectual and creative labor is often rendered invisible and considered secondary to the functioning of the art world. I had the immense pleasure and privilege of participating, and I’m grateful for the thorough exposure to the art scenes of Vienna and Graz that I received.

My deepest thanks to Dejan, Jelena, and Klaus, as well as to my fellow invited art critics, for the lively conversations, musings, and debates over our ten days spent together!

There are two distinct aspects that I’ve gleaned from the residency. Firstly, I was struck by the hospitality I experienced from the artistic community in Vienna. The artists whose studios we visited and the curators, writers, and gallerists we met were always eager to share their work with us and to engage us in discussions. The exemplary support afforded to the arts in Austria was reflected in the people we met and the diversity of artistic practices we encountered. Secondly, being a part of an international residency with fellow art critics from Canada, Kosovo, and South Africa widened my understanding of the different cultural and political conditions under which art criticism is produced throughout the world. Being able to discuss the art we viewed in real time and present our ideas in a public panel discussionallowed us to engage deeply with our surroundings while learning from one another.

I thank Verein K once again for having me in Vienna, and I look forward to future collaborations with the art scenes of Austria.

– Carlos Kong (USA)

The short but intensive program of the Visiting Art Critics Vienna 2023 organised by Verein K provided a thorough insight into the Vienna and Graz art scenes and their infrastructures – which to a great extent was new to me. New mostly because opportunities to explore these art contexts in professional capacity are scarce. In this regard Verein K thoughtfully intervenes and opens up the complexity and variety of the Austrian art scene to art professionals who are not based in Austria. The visits to art institutions, venues and exhibitions and studios of emerging and established artists enabled a nuanced understanding of the contemporary art scene. Learning more closely about individual artistic practices, meeting with different art professionals, and fellow art critics re-centered my art writing practice and expanded the pool of people with whom I can have meaningful conversations. I thank Jelena and Dejan and Klaus for their commitment to make this residency program a dynamic, insightful and intellectually stimulating forum.  

 – Erëmirë Krasniqi  (Kosovo)

Verein K’s Visiting Critics Vienna is unique in its engagement with critics as a key part of a healthy arts ecology. Writing is often a solitary exercise, and this research trip placed emphasis on discussions with artists and curators, and on a sense of community with the other writers, each of whom are working in very different contexts around the world. Visits to commercial galleries, museums, the Steirischer Herbst festival in Graz, and artist studios offered a brief but incredibly rich introduction to Austria’s art world, and its cultural context as a cosmopolitan, artistic node within Central Europe.

  • Khanya Mashabela (South Africa)


Dear Jelena, Dejan and Klaus, 

Thank you so much for hosting myself and the wonderful cohort of visiting critics this fall in Vienna. The residency was wonderfully organized and I couldn’t have hoped for better hosts: your knowledge of the local art scene and obvious investment in the heath and ecology of that scene was impressive: I was especially moved by the way in which audiences seemed interested and engaged with our practices and the evolved conversation around art and criticism in Vienna, which I’m sure, owes part of its capacity to you.

I thought that the tour was very well organized to allow us to explore both the
 Curated By festival in Vienna, and steirischer herbst in Graz, both events that were a very exciting new discovery for me, and I will continue to follow them. I was also delighted to discover new practices by Austrian artists with whom we had studio visits: these visits inspired new avenues of research that might eventually involve these artists. I felt very much welcomed and warmly received in both cities.

Finally I want to thank you for the open mindedness and finesse with which you do your work: you make it look effortless but in fact it was quite the undertaking. It’s not easy to run a tour of three strangers but your attitude and patience made it such a wonderful experience. I really hope that we meet again and that you will keep in touch.

 – Xenia Benivolski (Canada)

Verein K is an independent arts and cultural organization from Vienna, founded in January 2018. Verein K focuses on projects in the field of contemporary art and culture connecting diverse cultural and social interests: critical approaches to contemporary art, creating curatorial platforms as well as enabling innovative cultural practices including diverse social groups.

Verein K – Kunst, Kultur, Kommunikation 
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