This small town symbolized the archetype of pastoral American life. Yet this idyllic place was also held hostage by a dark past, manifesting in the racial tensions that scar much of American history.
The GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst (Society for Contemporary Art) is the place for emerging international contemporary art in Bremen (Northern Germany). It was founded in 1980 as a Kunstverein and is located in a former coffee roaster building on an island within the river Weser right in the city centre – in close proximity to the Weserburg I Museum für moderne Kunst and the Center for Artists’ Publications and within walking distance to the Künstlerhaus and the Städtische Galerie Bremen.
The GAK defines itself as a link between Academy and Museum. In changing group and solo shows it presents international art positions before they are established. GAK is a laboratory for emerging trends and actual discourse in contemporary art, provides them with a platform and opens up discussions. As a place for experiments it dares to step into the field of the unknown, unsecured and new. Accordingly there is a tradition of site-specific works realized for and related to the conditions of the space in the GAK. The traditional focus on yet widely unknown international positions is unregularly extended by artists of an older generation, who turned out to be highly influential for a younger artistic production (i.e. Jan Bas Ader, John Baldessari, Trisha Brown, André Cadere, Vlassis Caniaris, Öyvind Fahlström, Terry Fox, John Stezaker or Matt Mullican).
The exhibition programme focuses specifically on solo exhibitions of young emerging artists just as on group shows on topics of the public discourse. Artist as Edward Kienholz, Tracey Emin or Peter Doig has been shown here before they reached international attention. The group projects Girls can tell (2013), Beyond Words (2012), One Fine Morning in May… (2010), Space Revised #1 Friendly Takeovers (2009), Bin beschäftigt (2006), Niemand ist eine Insel (2003) or Do All Oceans Have Walls? (1998) have been perceived and recognized widely beyond the national borders.
The exhibitions are completed by an extensive program of guided tours, lectures, film screenings, performances, concerts or discussion panels. Thus the accompanying program intensifies the atmosphere of a vivid place that makes the involvement with contemporary art possible.
The work of the GAK is nationally and internationally recognized: 2012 i.e. Kate Newby won the Walters Prize for her first institutional solo exhibition at the GAK (Crawl out your window), the most important award for contemporary art in her home country New Zealand. Also in 2012 our institution got a commendation as the second best “Kunstverein” (art gallery/association) in German speaking countries (ADKV-ART COLOGNE Prize), after already having won an award as the best Kunstverein in 2001 (Adam-Elsheimer-Prize).
The GAK is member of the ADKV (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutscher Kunstvereine).