The painting Die Freunde by Oskar Kokoschka is a piece that was a bone of content on over the centuries and at the same time has been strongly connected to the history of the Kronprinzenpalais. Kokoschkas work has always been in the centre of attenton: be it the controversial debate about the purchase of the painting to enter the the collection of the Nationalgalerie in 1918, which was back then on display at the Kronprinzenpalais; or the central role of the same work in the exhibition Entartete Kunst, put together by the Nazis, which was also shown there. The significance of Die Freunde is undeniable and is part of the modern discurs until today: it just made the headlines in connection with the discovery and workup of the collection Gurlitz.
In contrast to this is the coffe cup with the printed image of Die Freunde that was purchased by the artist in a museum shop. It reveals how this painting is now absorbed by the commercialisation of art(history) – degraded and levelled down to an ordinary daily object - that is given even less attention to in this stage-managed daily situation: a stained coffee cup incidentally left behind. The building itself has shared a similar fate. Throughout the centuries it was a central place for historiography, even the architecture of the building illustrates these moments. Now it serves as a stage, a piece of scenery for events like the Vogue Fashion Show – the contemporary embodiment of a commercial an extravagant and glossy event. Life and all the cultural assets along with their historico-cultural significance are degraded to decoration, on a stage of capitalist world order, with the underlying principle of constant production and commercialization.