Location debate

The Weserburg Building Location Debate: What are the issues?

In the center of Bremen, on the Teerhof Island in the Weser River, stands a former coffee roasting facility that is now home to three institutions of contemporary art: the GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, the Zentrum für Künstlerpublikationen and the Weserburg I Museum of Modern Art.

During the last 2½ years, a bitter cultural and political debate has erupted over the museum. In essence, it is about cuts the house is required to make. An ongoing review is underway to determine whether relocating the museum in the direct neighborhood of the Kunsthalle would create opportunities for savings through personnel and structural mergers. A new building in the Wallanlagen Park is under consideration, funded through further sales of paintings, sponsorship and the sale of the historic building to private investors. In this case, the GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst and the Zentrum für Künstlerpublikationen would have to vacate their spaces as well and the Teerhof site would cease to exist as an art location in the city's institutional ensemble.

- The advantages and potential of having the GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Zentrum für Künstlerpublikationen, the museum and -- within walking distance -- the Künstlerhaus Bremen in close vicinity to each other would be squandered.

- The cultural use of a public building in a prime downtown location would be abandoned for the benefit of a private investor.

- The plurality of artistic perspectives and spaces in the city would be replaced by the dominance of one location (Wallanlagen Park).

Why isn't the money which Immobilien Bremen has reserved for years for the renovation of the Weserburg building, along with the proceeds from the sale of paintings, being used for a contemporary, financially viable redevelopment? Why is there so little support for the efforts of the GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, the Zentrum für Künstlerpublikationen and the Weserburg Museum to develop a forward-looking and vibrant concept for the Teerhof site that will build on the existing cooperative ties and appeal to diverse audiences? Why is it acceptable that this debate has been reduced to pure cost-benefit analysis and gradual liquidation instead of focusing on visions for a sustainable future?

+++ Anyone who wants to join our call for the preservation of the Weserburg building as a site for contemporary art in Bremen is cordially invited to sign our petition, via e-mail to: presse(at)gak-bremen.de
(subject: “Location debate", text: “Herewith I join the call for the preservation of the Weserburg building as a site for contemporary art in Bremen.”). +++

STATEMENT OF THE BOARD OF GAK (in German)

COMMENT BY THE DIRECTOR OF GAK (in German)

LOCATION DEBATE AND BLOG 2012/2013 (in German)