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TBA21 launching new book & platforms to support artists during lockdown.

Leading philanthropist Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza’s foundation, TBA21 is launching an important series of initiatives on different platforms this autumn including the publication of a new book designed by the world’s leading book designer, Irma Boom, dedicated to the foundation’s work over the last two decades, and the launch of St age, a collaborative digital programme and exhibition space initiated and run by TBA21 to support artists during the Covid-19 crisis. Work by selected St age artists will also be shown as part of TBA21’s programme of exhibitions at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid with an accompanying education and digital programme.

Publication of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary: The Commissions Book (Sternberg Press, 2020)
Publication date: 15th September 2020

The book documents the foundation’s work with artists over two decades exploring some of the most urgent issues of our time. Its innovative design was conceived by the world’s foremost book designer, Irma Boom. The publication brings together visual and written material from TBA21’s commissions, exhibitions and programmes, working with artists and architects including David Adjaye, John Akomfrah, Olafur Eliasson, Amar Kanwar, Walid Raad, Jana Winderen, and Joan Jonas. It also presents new works and commissions by Cecilia Bengolea, Claudia Comte, SUPERFLEX, and Territorial Agency, among many others. There are also contributions by curator Natasha Ginwala and transdisciplinary feminist thinkers Astrida Neimanis and Eva Hayward. Honouring TBA21’s commitment to the environment, the book is made from sustainable materials, using 100 percent recycled paper.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary: The Commissions Book

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary: The Commissions Book Edited by Daniela Zyman and Eva Ebersberger Softcover 1,336 pages Publisher: Sternberg Press (September 2020) Language: English Design: Irma Boom ISBN-10: 3956795555 ISBN-13: 978-3956795558  $35.95 / €29.00 / $47.95 CAN

Launch of St age: 21 September 2020

St age, conceived and initiated by TBA21, aims to collaborate with artists, foundations and cultural organisations worldwide who share a vision that art has the power to change the world. St age (short for The Streaming Age) is an invitation to artists, institutions, practitioners and activists to join together to address the urgent issues of this time. The project aims to bring together new cultural communities to celebrate and encourage generosity, sharing, and caring for one another by providing a platform to raise much-needed funds and propose concrete actions.

New works have been commissioned from artists in lockdown locations across the world including Himali Singh Soin, India; Christian Salablanca Díaz, Costa Rica; Patricia Domínguez, Chile; Asunción Molinos Gordo, Spain; Dana Awartani, Saudi Arabia; Courtney Morris, USA; Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Spain/Brazil; Naufus Ramírez Figueroa, Guatemala: Eduardo Navarro, Argentina: Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Sweden: Dineo Seshee Bopape, South Africa and Melanie Bojano, the Netherlands.

How to Tread Lightly Exhibition: Opening 5th October 2020

The foundation is organising a carbon-free exhibition, How to Tread Lightly, of St age artists’ work as part of its ongoing exhibition programme at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid (5 October – 13 December 2020). There will also be an associated education and events programme.

Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza said:

“I believe that philanthropy is vital at the current time. We have a continuing sense of responsibility and there is a growing community of care. We all realise that we can’t just continue consuming art, we need to support those who create it.’


Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza is the fourth generation of the Thyssen family committed to the arts. As the founder of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) she is a collector who forges relationships with contemporary artists through a program of commissions as the preferred method of adding works to the collection. These commissions are a reflection of her personal concern for the rapidly changing world we live in and the urgencies we face. She fundamentally believes in cultural diplomacy, which she learned from her father’s cultural exchanges with the Soviet Union in the 1980s during his, but has taken this practice to a whole other level by facilitating the foundation’s first commission in 2004, and taking the work of the foundation consciously into a practice of care and engagement. She later pushed the foundation into a further direction by supporting the creation of the TBA21–Academy as the exploratory soul of TBA21, a practice of artistic research focused exclusively on the oceans.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) is a leading international art foundation, founded in Vienna in 2002 by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza. Promoting art as a powerful agent for change, the foundation aims to investigate pressing issues of the day and supports artistic practices that are informed by social and environmental concerns. Seeking to forge new, productive relationships between artistic research and creative work in the sciences and the humanities, TBA21 operates a unique program of commissions, often working in partnership with leading cultural organizations across the world. These include, for example, an important series of collaborations with Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum (MNTB) in Madrid. tba21.org

TBA21–Academy is a cultural organization investigating environmental injustice against the ocean through the lens of art, founded in 2011 by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza and Markus Reymann. TBA21–Academy instigates intersectional and collaborative research, artistic production, and new forms of knowledge, resulting in commissions, exhibitions, and pedagogical programs. It has grown an extensive network of ocean practitioners and experts from the fields of science, policy, law, big data, and Indigenous scholarship.




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