Controversies Austria

Support for Austrian director forced to resign

Artists and museum directors back up Peter Noever following his resignation

Kapoor with Noever in 2009

VIENNA. US artists Chris Burden, Kiki Smith and Lawrence Weiner, architect Frank Gehry, and Thomas Krens, the director emeritus of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, are among the online signatories who have pledged their support for Peter Noever, the Austrian museum director who abruptly resigned last week as an investigation is reopened into his financial management of the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna. Burden wrote that Noever “set the gold standard” for museum directors. Krens declared: “Vienna and Austria is not a large enough stage for his talents,” adding that he has plans to “redistribute” Noever’s talents internationally.

Allegations that Noever mismanaged funds first arose at the end of last year. An independent audit cleared him of most charges, recommending that he refund the cost of birthday parties held for his mother at the museum. Noever, who was due to step down at the end of 2011, has now revealed to trustees that the cost of the parties was far greater than the €10,000 as first thought. He has deposited €220,000 into an account while exact costs are determined. A report is due to be completed by the end of the month.

“I have made mistakes, for which I am solely responsible,” Noever said. “In retrospect, I should have kept the events in the private sphere, even though, I believe, they served the museum.”

Noever transformed the museum during his 26 years in charge, working with artists including Anish Kapoor and Otto Muehl. Donald Judd and Jenny Holzer co-curated the collection. An interview with Noever appears in the March issue of The Art Newspaper, see related story.

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Comments

24 Mar 11
21:58 CET

BEN BERNREITER, VIENNA

The final audit of PwC concluded that the damage accrued by Mr. Noever is 255.000 USD, leading to his summary dismissal this March. A criminal investigation and an investigation by the Court of Audit are ongoing. So this is the 'gold standard' which has to be 'redistributed'? Noevers rhetoric has become so predictable that everybody can become some sort of Noever if he just repeats the words "uncompromising", "visionary" and "radical". It is embarrassing how these hollow stereotypes explaining his - and thus their own - 'special status' are used by many of Noevers friends to entrench their own position.

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