Andrei Siclodi / Kunsthalle Tirol on 26 Nov 2000 17:14:13 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] please support the Kunsthalle Tirol!

Please support the KUNSTHALLE TIROL!

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!

After 1 ½ years of exhibitions of ceaseless and successful cultural
work, the KUNSTHALLE TIROL ( is currently
facing substantial cutbacks in operation time and financial support. For
the coming year, the municipal authorities of Hall in Tirol are planning
to cut down subsidies by 50%. Despite the absence of demand for other
forms of usage, the operating time of the KUNSTHALLE TIROL at the
Salzlager Hall is about to be reduced from twelve to five months per


Since 1999, the KUNSTHALLE TIROL has been showing contemporary art of
international significance. Five extensive and comprehensive exhibitions
have established the success of the KUNSTHALLE TIROL as a unique
exhibition hall and as a living forum for contemporary art and culture.
Only continuous and dedicated work can maintain and develop the unique
character of the KUNSTHALLE TIROL.

You can help us secure the ceaseless work and the international
reputation we have built. Please forward written declarations of support
until December 11, 2000, to:



Ever since the Kunsthalle Tirol has begun its work, biased and
slanderous criticism from the opposition parties, especially the FPO
(Haider’s party),  has been used to serve the political interest of the
opposition. The numerous attacks on the artistic director, turning into
a veritable cultural battle, betray the intentions of the opposition
parties in Hall to break the absolute majority of the OVP (conservative
party) in the Hall Town Council.

In the course of a meeting in the spring of 1999, representatives of the
Hall Town Council and the Tyrolean Federal Government agreed with Dr.
Hubert Salden, designated director of the Kunsthalle Tirol, on three
conditions as the basis for the future work of the Kunsthalle Tirol: A
continuous all-year operation of the Kunsthalle Tirol is to replace the
former summer-only operation of the years 1994-1998. The Kunsthalle
association will be converted into a Limited Liability Corporation and
provided with an annual minimum budget of ATS 10 million. Following this
agreement, the Kunsthalle Tirol celebrates its new opening on April 30,
1999 with the exhibition "Space Place". Fritz Astl, Head of the Cultural
Department in the Tyrolean Federal Government at that time, confirms in
his opening speech the proper founding of the Kunsthalle Tirol.

At that time, the town of Hall is ruled by the OVP.  Through its
coalition with the OVP-related fraction "Fit fuer Hall", whose member
Werner Lackmaier is responsible for cultural policy in Hall, the OVP is
in possession of an absolute majority in the Town Council.

In June 1999, the three parties FPO, SPO (social democratic party) and
"Die Haller" (people from Hall) form an alliance as a counterweight in
topic-oriented politics to the ruling OVP majority. In a press
conference, the opposition parties detect "serious faults" in the
decisions of the OVP in regard to the Kunsthalle Tirol. Also the
director of the Kunsthalle faces severe flak:  In utterly populistic
manner,  the numbers of visitors of the first exhibition and the
allegedly arbitrary waste of millions in subsidies  are made the primary
object of criticism. And the opposition offers alternatives: The use of
the Salzlager Hall (location) by the Kunsthalle Tirol should be
restricted to three months in summer, with exhibitions showing
contemporary Tyrolean Art. For the remaining year, the Salzlager should
be used for events that are "less lofty".

With the beginning of the exhibition "Oh Hitchcock" in August 1999, the
attacks of the opposition parties on the director of the Kunsthalle
Tirol become more and more aggressive.  In an open letter to Mayor Leo
Vonmetz, Council Representative Johannes Margreiter from the party „Die
Haller“ demands the immediate dismissal of Dr. Hubert Salden after the
announcement of a symposium on "serial killers" as topic-related part of
the exhibition.  The FPO Hall support this demand, as the symposium
"presents a danger to children and teenager".

The open letter from Margreiter also contains  a request to the Mayor to
pass on all responsibility for the Kunsthalle Tirol to the Tyrolean
Federal Government, who should be granted regular usage of the
Kunsthalle for a negotiable period. For the remaining year, the
Salzlager shall be run on profit basis.

Due to rising public pressure from the opposition parties, Mayor Vonmetz
publicly criticizes the Kunsthalle Tirol and its director during a
session of the Town Council. He announces that current exhibitions will
run out and that the future of the Kunsthalle Tirol will be decided in
the spring of 2000.

At a music event related to the exhibition "Oh Hitchcock" in October
1999, an Ecstasy dealer is arrested by the security staff of the
Kunsthalle and handed over to the police. In a postal delivery sent out
two days later, FPO member of the Federal Parliament Willi Tilg claims
that the Kunsthalle Tirol has become a place for "publicly financed drug
consumption" and demands that the director be immediately removed from

In December 2000,  the opposition alliance initiates a collection of
signatures against the Kunsthalle Tirol, combined with the demand to
close it down. A postal delivery by the FPO follows to boot, claiming
that pornographic homepages are printed out at the Kunsthalle Tirol and
handed out at schools in Hall.

On February 13, 2000, an article under the headline "Cultural Battle for
Power in the town hall - How Haider`s FPO mobilizes public sentiment
against the Kunsthalle Tirol"is published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung. On February 28, another postal delivery by the FPO Member of
the Federal Government Willi Tilg is sent out, demanding the replacement
of director Hubert Salden due to "scandalous faux-pas with foreign
press".  The delivery accuses Salden, who receives subsidies from the
Town Council, of   "biting the hand that feeds him" and of damaging the
image of Austria and the Tyrol abroad. Salden is told to "pack his bags
and go".

In April 2000, shortly after the entry of the Kunsthalle Tirol Ltd. into
the register of companies, Willi Tilg announces at a press conference
that he will bring in a charge against Hubert Salden for suspicion of
misappropriation. The other opposition parties SPO and "Die Haller"
dissociate themselves from this charge and announce the end of the
opposition alliance. The SPO attack the FPO for "leading a man hunt".
The allegedly one hundred signatures collected against the Kunsthalle
Tirol are burnt by FPO members in the presence of press as a token of
protest against the termination of the opposition alliance. The FPO
announces that it will now start the campaign again on its own.

In October 2000, the annual balance sheet of the Kunsthalle Tirol for
1999 is presented to the Examination Committee of the Town Council. No
fault is found.

After the splitting-off of the trade union wing of the Hall OVP from the
liberal wing in July 2000, the ruling party has lost its absolute
majority. Subsequently, all parties but the FPO declare their interest
in finding a "sensible solution" for the Kunsthalle Tirol. The
Kunsthalle Tirol and its director are to remain active, on the condition
that subsidies from the Town Council will be reduced by 50%.

On October 25, the Town Council decides that from 2001 onward, the
Kunsthalle will be granted use of the Salzlager for only five months per
year, from the middle of May until the middle of October. For the
remaining period, the Town`s Department of Works will rent out the
location to interested parties for all kinds of events.

Kunsthalle Tirol
Autobahnauffahrt Hall Mitte
6060 Hall in Tirol, Austria
T +43 5223 523 220
F +43 5223 523 229

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