Hamburg in protest

Artists occupy Hamburg in protest

Hamburg has long been in the shadow of Berlin when it comes to attracting contemporary artist residents, with issues of cost and available space being its biggest drawback. With news that a major part of the city’s historic Gängeviertel district is due for demolition to pave the way for new financial and living plots, resident artists felt it was time to act against the city’s cultural policy.

Last weekend, under the leadership of German artist Daniel Richter, who is represented by Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin and David Zwirner in New York, a group of up to 200 artists took over spaces in Gängeviertel’s threatened buildings to highlight the lack of financial assistance for artists seeking to plant their roots in the city.

Through their website, the artists gave a call to arms to “conquer the Gängeviertel with their paintings, actions, and music.” Adding, “We will demand that the city save this quarter from finance insanity and preserve real quality of life here.”

According to Richter, it is not that the money isn’t available, it is simply that it is misallocated. A planned museum to house a private ship collection which the government purchased for €20mn is just one of his gripes. It seems that the local council has taken note; while the Gängeviertel development seems certain to go ahead, Hamburg’s culture minister Karin von Welck is looking into the how subsidized studios can be introduced into the city.