Georg Kargl. Photo: Society of Projective Aesthetics.

Georg Kargl (1955–2018)

Dealer Georg Kargl, a prominent member of the Viennese contemporary art scene, died on May 15. His gallery, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, confirmed his passing. The veteran gallerist was sixty-two years old.

Born on November 17, 1955, Kargl first worked as a bricklayer and carpenter for a family construction business before he pursued a career in the arts. He studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and opened his first space, Galerie Metropol, with Christian Meyer in the 1980s. The gallery originally focused on Art Nouveau but gradually expanded to include contemporary art.

In 1998, the partners split ways, and Kargl established Georg Kargl Fine Arts in the Schleifmühlvierte area of Vienna. Several years later, in 2005, Kargl launched the experimental exhibition space BOX, which was designed by the Viennese architects Jabornegg & Palffy and the American artist Richard Artschwager.

Last year, Kargl announced that his eponymous gallery would be rebranded the Society of Projective Aesthetics and would adopt a less traditional gallery model. In a statement published on his website, Kargl cited the nature of art fairs as the reason for this change of course. “There are too many exhibitions and events,” he wrote. “It becomes a pure game of numbers. In the twenty years since Georg Kargl Fine Arts was founded in Schleifmühlgasse we haven’t always done what we set out to do. We often had to move much too fast and overwhelming ourselves and others. We let ourselves be seduced by the art market carousel.”

As a result, Kargl planned an exhibition program that would prioritize the “distribution of content before the distribution of works.” According to the dealer, this meant “deceleration, reduction, concentration, and dialogue.” He wanted to rethink the gallery system in order to better serve cultural consumers.

Clegg and Guttmann, Andreas Fogarasi, Muntean/Rosenblum, Raymond Pettibon, and Rosemarie Trockel are some of the artists that are represented by Kargl.

“Georg was not only a visionary art dealer with a sincere commitment to art apart from economics and trends, but a respected mentor and genuine friend,” Kargl’s wife, the Brazilian artist Inés Lombardi, and the Society of Projective Aesthetics team said in a joint statement. “We mourn his passing and wish him a peaceful journey.”