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slant

the Generali Foundation

AT A SEPTEMBER 2007 press conference announcing the merger of the Generali Foundation and the Bawag Foundation, representatives of the two Vienna art institutions stood smiling beneath the neon script of Cerith Wyn Evans’s 2003 sculpture Scenes from a Marriage—apparently unaware that the piece alludes to Ingmar Bergman’s oppressive portrait of a union in crisis. This particular art-world betrothal should perhaps not have been a surprise, since the corporations that respectively own and fund the foundations had themselves merged earlier in the year, when financial-services conglomerate Generali bought a majority stake in troubled Austrian bank BAWAG P.S.K.. Yet to many, the prospect of “consolidation” was indeed a shock. And as details of the plan emerged, the inadvertent allusion to a doomed marriage came to seem all too appropriate. The Bawag Foundation, it appeared, was to move into

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