No replacement Friedl’s entry for Vincent Award

The Austrian artist Peter Friedl (1960), who has withdrawn from the contest to The Vincent van Gogh Biennial Award, will not be replaced by another entry. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has decided to leave Friedl’s exhibition room totally empty.

Right after Friedl decided to withdraw, on the verge of the opening last Friday, the Stedelijk Museum removed his art from the exhibition instantly. Friedl’s anger-eruption shocked the museum director and his staff.

Friedl made it to the shortlist of five artists in September 2007. He now states that he regrets his decision to take part in the contest and has “ethical objections” to the prize and jury. The artist doubts that the contest would be “truly democratic” because he concerns it is biased. According to Friedl, one of the jurors is an art collector who owns works of contestant Francis Alÿs.

The Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) claims that the procedure for the contest has been honest from the start. It is because he has only now voiced comments concerning the composition of the jury and the prize, that he has withdrawn at such a late stage.

According to Friedl, the museum was not available for any discussion. Furthermore, he calls the working situation far from perfect, because the artists did not receive a production budget for their new work.

Stedelijk Museum Director Gijs van Tuyl says that there have been several irritations between Friedl and the Award organization. Friedl even should have demanded the dismissal of curator Leontine Coelewij.

The Vincent Award
The Vincent van Gogh Biennial Award for Contemporary Art in Europe is an important biennial award to stimulate European artists whose work is highly relevant to the art of today.

The contest is judged by a rotating jury of six professionals from the European art world, with a prize of €50,000 ($78,110). The work of this year’s remaining four shortlisted artists is on view at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam until September 30. The winner will be announced on September 12. Besides Friedl, the artists Francis Alÿs, Liam Gillick, Deimantas Nakevicius, and Rebecca Warren were shortlisted for the European art prize.

Earlier editions of The Vincent Award were won by Wilhelm Sasnal (2006), Pawel Althamer (2004), Neo Rauch (2002) and Eija-Liisa Ahtila (2000).

June 23, 2008