Dealer Johann Konig denies the allegations reported by Die Zeit and has initiated legal action in Germany against Die Zeit. On October 26, a German court granted a temporary injunction ordering Die Zeit to stop publishing the allegations pending the outcome of the litigation. The lawsuit is ongoing.
After just a year, dealer Johann König will close his space in Vienna, which his gallery is now billing as a temporary venue.
The German publication Der Standard reported news of the Vienna closure earlier this month. The closure came several weeks after Die Zeit published an investigation that detailed multiple women’s allegations that König had sexually harassed them.
The women quoted in the Die Zeit report, some of whom were not named, accused König of having made lewd comments and unwanted sexual advances toward them. König has vehemently denied the allegations, describing the Die Zeit article as “defamation.”
König Galerie currently operates spaces in Berlin and Seoul. Within the German capital, its founder is considered one of the most powerful figures in the art world.
A König Galerie representative told Der Standard that the Vienna gallery was “a pop-up project for a year.” But when the gallery opened last year, it was never advertised that way.
Ahead of the space’s inauguration last October, the gallery published an article on its website in which it said that König’s Vienna gallery will “now fill a not-so-modest 400 square meters with art over the long term.” There was no mention within that article that the Vienna gallery would be temporary.
In an email to ARTnews, a König Galerie spokesperson said that the Vienna space was intended to be pop-up similar to the ones the gallery has had in Tokyo and Monaco, and there is another pop-up planned for Mexico City.
The gallery has staged just five shows in Vienna, among them solo outings for artists like Claudia Comte and Erwin Wurm. The last show staged by König in the Austrian capital, it seems, will be one by Alicja Kwade that closes on October 30.
König arrived in Vienna at a time when more and more international figures began paying attention to the city. Shortly after the gallery opened there, dealer Eva Presenhuber also opened a space in the city. Alongside these galleries, there have been a number of smaller, less blue-chip art enterprises that have opened there, including Gianni Manhattan, Shore, and Felix Gaudlitz.