New York: Panel Discussion: Art Restitution in Austria. Achievements, Lessons, Challenges

  • Austrian Cultural Forum New York 11 East 52nd Street New York, NY, 10022 United States

With:
Christoph Bazil,
Jane Kallir,
Hannah Lessing,
Andrew Mezvinsky, and
Danielle Spera

Moderation:
Georg Heindl, Austrian Consul General in New York.

Nearly 20 years after the passing of the 1998 Austrian Law on Art Restitution, a distinguished panel will take stock on what has been achieved in legal, political and moral terms. What have we learnt, and what challenges remain for the future? Join a group of outstanding legal and arts experts and key figures in the field for a discussion about the issue of art restitution and the trends in Austria. The event will be moderated by Georg Heindl, Austria’s Consul-General in NYC.

ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS

Christoph Bazil studied law at the University of Vienna from 1987 until 1992. Additionally, he successfully completed several courses of history and art history. Thereafter, in 1994 he joined the Department of Monument Protection, which is part of the Federal Ministry of Science and Research. In 2001 Bazil did the doctorate in law and from 2006 until 2008 he was the chairman of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee of Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. Since 2008 Bazil is appointed Head of the Art Repatriation Department including different fields such as the capacity of the Repatriation Committee’s Offices and the Leopold Museum’s private foundation advising council as well as the Provenance Research Commission’s administration.

Georg Heindl was born in Vienna in 1962. At age 4, in 1967, he moved to New York where his father had become head of the Austrian Cultural Institute. In 1970, the family moved back to Vienna. In 1986, Georg Heindl graduated from University and then completed a one year postgraduate study at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. In 1987, he entered the Austrian Foreign Service. Since then, he served as Attache at the Austrian Embassy in Dakar/Senegal, Embassy Secretary in Moscow and London, Secretary, then Counsellor at the Austrian Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Vienna, and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy in Moscow. As Embassy Secretary in Moscow, 1989 – 1992, he witnessed the upheavals which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. From 2004- 2009, he was Head of Division at the Department for Human Rights at the Austrian Foreign Ministry, responsible inter alia for national minorities, freedom of religion and the fight against racism. 2009, he became Austrian Ambassador to Vietnam, a post he held until 2013. Since 2013, he is Austrian Consul General in New York.

Jane Kallir is the Co-Director of the St.Etienne Galerie in New York since 1978 and among others responsible for curatorial coordination and publications or licensing and reproduction rights. Furthermore, Kallir is the internationally renowned expert for the artist Egon Schiele. After her grandfather Otto Kallir’s death she was getting into a ten-years-project of intensive work and research to record, describe and authenticate between 2000 and 3000 works of Egon Schiele. The book Egon Schiele: The Complete Works—Including a Biography and a Catalogue Raisonné was published by Harry N. Abrams in 1990. There was also an expanded edition with several hundred supplements in 1998. Since that time, she has continued to cataloguing and authenticating the artist’s works as they come to her intention.

Hannah Lessing was born in Vienna in 1963. As a sixteen year old she appeared in the 1978 Emmy Award winning miniseries “Holocaust”. She studied at the Vienna University of Economics and Business from 1981 to 1988 and joined an Austrian bank as a member of the management staff in 1990. In 1995 she became secretary general of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism. She looks after some 30,000 survivors, seeking reconciliation for them with the state of Austria. Lessing also heads the Austrian delegation in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In 2001 she became a member of the Austrian delegation at the negotiations on the Washington Agreement on compensation. She is secretary general of the General Compensation Fund for Victims of National Socialism and the Fund for Restoration of Jewish Cemeteries in Austria. She is also involved in the redesign of the Austrian exhibition at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Andrew Margolies Mezvinsky was born in 1982 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is currently based in Vienna, Austria. He uses a large variety of different techniques such as india ink, graphite, oil, pastel, collages and indian dyeing technique and introduces mixed media into his sculptural drawings, paintings and videos. His work has been shown internationally such as at the Biennale di Venezia as a part of the Art group RGB (Slovenia). In 2007 he contributed a fabrication installation for a satellite fair of the Art Basel in Switzerland. Under his direction, in October 2011, "Il Fazzoletto" a contemporary divertimento/operetta, celebrated its premiere at the Institute of Fine Arts in San Francisco. His art is part of many private and museums' collections such as The Hirshhorn Collection in Washington DC, the Brot Kunsthalle in Vienna, Zanabazar Museum in Mongolia and the Jüdisches Museum Vienna as well as the collections of Jim Lambie (UK), Jane Holzer, (USA) Ernst Hilger (Austria), Albert Baker Knoll (USA), Franz West (Austria) and Bernhard and Elizabeth Hainz (Austria). 

Danielle Spera was appointed Director of the Jewish Museum Vienna in 2010. From 1978 till 2010 she worked as a journalist, correspondent, reporter, and anchorwoman at ORF-TV Austrian Broadcasting Cooperation. She is the author of numerous books and articles on contemporary art, Jewish topics, and for the magazine NU. Since 2013 she serves as President of ICOM Austria as well as a member of the council of the Medical University Innsbruck/Austria. For the Jewish Museum Vienna she curated several exhibitions including Jewish Geniuses. Warhol’s Jews (2012, together with Astrid Peterle), A Good Day. Installation Andrew M. Mezvinsky (2013), The Südbahnhotel – The Faded Days of the Magic Mountain. Photographs by Yvonne Oswald (2014), and Lessing presents Lessing (2015).