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Symposium: Survival Rate 4%

The latest reports from the frontline of the Art Academy

Every year, approx. 5,000 young people decide to study art at one of the 24 German art universities or academies. According to a recent study by the Bundesverband Bildender Künstler (BBK), only one-tenth receive income from their artistic activities totaling 20,000 euros annually, with 83 percent remaining below this (by a wide margin). Thus, we can see that this phenomenon can hardly be explained by financial motivations and the prospect of career success.

Good-for-nothings, light-worshippers, reality-refusers, aroma-seekers, ne’er-do-wells, heart-pourers, dream-dancers, pathos-raisers, mania-jugglers, nerve-breakers, trash-rakers, soul-nudists, bluffers, posers, pretenders, sensitive plants, misfits, bourgeois-scarers, taboo-shakers, coward-flagellators, liberation bugles, shifting-image makers, daze sweethearts, rose-threshers, public pissers, perversion profiteers, lens devils, credit pointers, aparters, total Samaritans, misunderstanders, legacy redeemers, sniffers-out of the sublime, people in need of colorfulness, goodness wringers, ill-testers, mood imitators, solvents sinners, plan-less, brainless and status-less, and failed apprentice windowdressers. They and many, many others seek admission into our »caravan in the desert of freedom.« In the spirit of the admonition of Zarathustra: »Capture freedom and be lord in your own desert.« What is it all about? Taking stock to mark this anniversary, we have asked experienced voices to try to clarify.

Friday, 14. July 2017

14.00 h
Werner Büttner (Artist, Professor of Painting, HFBK Hamburg)

14.15 h
The Legitimacy of the Art Academy
Lecture by Walter Grasskamp (Author, until 2017 Professor of Art History, Akademie der Bildenden Künste München)

15.00 h
The art of living for the young generation: the mechanisms of wear and destruction, humiliation, isolation, suffering, work, pressure balance
Lecture by Annette Tietenberg (Professor of art science with the focus of contemporary art, Hochschule für bildende Künste Braunschweig)

15.45 h

16.00 h
Schism 2027. On the immediate future of art academies
Lecture by Wolfgang Ullrich (He lectured at various art universities from 1997 to 2015, now lives in Leipzig and works as an author. He publishes works on the history and criticism of the concept of art, on sociology-of-the-image issues and on phenomena of affluence.)

16.45 h
The art academy – a refuge?
Lecture by Bettina Uppenkamp (Professor of Art History, Hochschule für bildende Künste Dresden, from October 2017 Professor of Art History, HFBK Hamburg)

17.30 h

18.00 h
A work value theory for fine art – how the value of the skills trained by academies is generated.
Lecture by Diedrich Diederichsen (Professor of Theory, Practice and Communication of Contemporary Art, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien)

19.00 h
moderated by Martin Köttering und Werner Büttner

Idea + Concept: Werner Büttner
Presentations in German, simultaneous interpretation into English
Technical support: avt plus media service

Semestereröffnung und Hiscox-Preisverleihung 2020

We cordially invite you to the opening of the academic year 2020/21 as well as to the presentation of the Hiscox Art Prize on November 4 from 6 p.m. via livestream - offline with enough distance and yet together online.

Art defies Corona: Graduate Show 2020

With a two-month delay, the Graduate Show took place this year on the 19 and 20 September. More than 140 students showed their artistic graduation projects, from painting to sound installation.

Teaching Art Online at the HFBK

How the university brings together its artistic interdisciplinary study structure with digital formats and their possibilities.

New articles at is the social network of the HFBK. It opens a digital forum for exchange and discussion in which students, teachers, guest authors, art critics and the interested public provide a wide range of content and perspectives.

HFBK Graduate Survey

Studying art - and what comes next? The clichéd images stand their ground: Those who have studied art either become taxi drivers, work in a bar or marry rich. But only very few people could really live from art – especially in times of global crises. The HFBK Hamburg wanted to know more about this and commissioned the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Hamburg to conduct a broad-based survey of its graduates from the last 15 years.

How political is Social Design?

Social Design, as its own claim is often formulated, wants to address social grievances and ideally change them. Therefore, it sees itself as critical of society – and at the same time optimizes the existing. So what is the political dimension of Social Design – is it a motor for change or does it contribute to stabilizing and normalizing existing injustices?

Annual Exhibition 2020 at the HFBK

The HFBK’s traditional annual exhibition („Jahresausstellung“) opens in February every year. For three days the students – from first-years to post-graduates – present a broad spectrum of their current work and projects from all the different departments. All classrooms, studios and halls in the building are used. Interested visitors are cordially invited to gain an impression of the art currently being created at the HFBK.