Against Looted Art* in the Kunsthaus Zürich
* Looted Art meaning, all art confiscated by the Nazi Regime or forced to be sold while fleeing persecution.
The misconduct and omissions of the Kunsthaus, city and canton of Zurich with regard to the Bührle Collection can no longer be ignored.
Thus we demand:
1. That the promised independent clarification of the provenances be undertaken immediately and transparently, and that the Kunsthaus be held responsible for all consequences and restitutions.
Wanting to place a museum at the international forefront necessitates adherence to the international agreements on the subject of looted art. It is morally unacceptable for us as cultural workers, visitors and residents of this city that these important clarifications have been undertaken incompletely and merely pro forma, and that we thereby participate in the whitewashing of the Bührle Collection.
2. A complete, non-embellishing reexamination of the history of the Bührle Collection in the context of the Second World War.
This reexamination must take place not only in the Kunsthaus itself, but also on the website and in the form of lectures and panel discussions. Confronting its own past and taking its educational mission seriously is an opportunity for the Kunsthaus Zürich and a debate that is urgently desired today.
3. To make the individual works of the Bührle loan accessible to the curators of the Kunsthaus.
Currently, the works of the Bührle Collection can only be shown as a closed unit. Yet if the Kunsthaus and the city are really concerned with the artworks in this temporary loan and if one wants to make these works accessible to the public, it must also be possible to work with the individual works. Opening up new contexts and perspectives for works of art is an integral part of the task of any art museum.
4. To rename the "Bührle Saal" back to "Grosser Ausstellungsaal".
It was only in 2000 that Christoph Becker - a member of the Foundation Board of the Bührle Collection since 2002 - retitled the respective space “Bührle Saal”; before that, the room was simply called "Grosser Ausstellungssaal." This questionable practice of glorifying and thus whitewashing the names of highly controversial corporations and families with the help of public institutions is a betrayal of the victims of the war and the Holocaust. With such obvious whitewashing and cover-up manoeuvers, Switzerland presents itself worldwide as history-negating, out of touch and dishonest.
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