History and Programme
In 1941, Neue Galerie Graz resulted from the division of the Landesbildergalerie of Joanneum, founded in 1811, into an Alte and a Neue Galerie (an old and a new gallery). The latter took over the stock from the 19th and 20th century, moving to Palais Herberstein in Sackstrasse 16 as a new department of the museum. With its dedication for use as a museum, the town palace was saved by Prof. Hans Riehl, the first director of Neue Galerie (1941-1955). The building had been converted by the famous baroque architect Josef Hueber before the middle of the 18th century and adapted as a palace for the Dukes of Eggenberg, succeeded by the Earls of Herberstein. Subsequent directors were Walter Koschatzky (1956-1962), Trude Aldrian (1963-1965), Wilfried Skreiner (1966-1992), Werner Fenz (1993-1997), Peter Weibel (1998) and Christa Steinle (since 1999).
Neue Galerie perceives it as its duty to current and future generations, and cultural task, to inform the public about the status of regional, national and international contemporary art production by means of exhibitions and symposia. Besides large programme-based group exhibitions (e.g. 'Kontextkunst', 1993; 'Pittura Immedia'. Painting from the 1990s in the USA and Europe, 1995; 'Beyond art' 1996/97/98; ‚Der anagrammatische Körper', 1999; 'Im Buchstabenfeld - The Future of Literature, 2001; In search of Balkania, 2002). All these, not forgetting individual exhibitions, creating a forum of encounter for national and international artists, with Neue Galerie defining the broad field of examination of art in all media of expression like painting, sculpture, photography, digital media, video and film, object art, installations or architecture. So it was that Neue Galerie, many years ahead of other galleries, gave young artists large individual exhibitions, artists who today are amongst the stars of international art scene, e.g. Pipilotti Rist, Sylvie Fleury and Olafur Eliasson. Young Austrian artists who are not yet established in the art world can find an opportunity to present their work at the Studio of Neue Galerie. In the Courtyard Gallery mainly works of the austrian klassical Modern Art are shown, that stay in relationship to the collection of the Neue Galerie.
Neue Galerie would like to be a place offering help with orientation, a place that, in the seemingly confusing arbitrariness of contemporary art production, serves to position.