Having ideas is good,
implementing ideas is better.
Launched as a private initiative in 1986 and recently having celebrated its 25th anniversary, this Bonn-domiciled Foundation perceives itself literally as an
"agitator", dedicated to promoting more civic engagement in the arts, based on the motto "public impact through private initiative". Everything possible must be undertaken to preserve our existing cultural diversity, and, in this regard, the public sector is dependent upon the active participation of private sponsors. As a creative think-tank, the Foundation is committed to fostering artistic and cultural activities, and, backed by an extensive network of committed partners, has translated these aspirations into concrete deeds. The requisite resources are raised almost exclusively from sponsors in commerce and industry and from private individuals.
Of special and enduring significance are three projects: With the exhibitions "China!" (1996) and "Chinart" (2002), the Foundation assumed a pioneering role in promoting contemporary Chinese art in Europe. It has also established the MKM Museum Küppersmühle for Modern Art in Duisburg, which it has operated since its launch in 1999, mounting four exhibitions annually (see www.museum-kueppersmuehle.de). Together with the Salzburg Foundation, the Foundation has between 2002-2011 staged the "Walk of Modern Art", a freely-accessible sculptural tour through the public spaces of Salzburg's Old City, featuring works by acclaimed artists such as Mario Merz, James Turrell, and Erwin Wurm, to name but a few (see www.salzburgfoundation.at).
To date some 200 projects have been realised, ranging from round-table discussions on cultural policies, art projects in public space, artists' talks to the production of catalogues. In particular, the Foundation has staged numerous exhibitions in the Kunstmuseum Bonn, the Museum Küppersmühle in Duisburg, the MACRO in Rome, the Künstlerhaus Vienna, the Singapore Art Museum and in many other renowned museums. Among the theme-based exhibitions held were "Die Macht des Alters" ("The Power of Age"), contemporary German photography, and the current Scandinavian art scene, together with presentations by Jörg Immendorff, Gerhard Richter, Sean Scully, Tony Cragg, Per Kirkeby and many more. With "60 Years. 60 Works. Art from the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 2009" (2009) and "ARTandPRESS" (2012), the Foundation has also mounted two major exhibitions in Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau. Proving highly popular were the shows dedicated to Anselm Kiefer (2010-12), which the Foundation organised in collaboration with the Villa Schöningen in Potsdam, the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, and the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn.
"Open-mindedness, curiosity, interest in the Other and the desire to develop and translate ideas into practice: It was upon such fertile ground that the Foundation's motto has evolved", explains the chairman Walter Smerling, "and it has lost nothing of its validity up to the present day: Having ideas is good, implementing ideas is better. Art and the work of artists will always be at the forefront of our activities, for this is the raw material which we seek to encounter with our intellect, imagination, sensitivity, dedication, deep respect and affection.”