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Albert Oehlen, Richard Prince, Christopher Wool et al.

Artists' Books: The Collection (group show)
Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg
1 December 2017 - 2 April 2018

Artists’ books tell stories or take the form of manifestos, archives or political proclamations. Programmatic, narrative, playful, or even appalling, they break with traditional book design to open new creative spaces. Discovered by conceptual artists and the Fluxus movement as an open and versatile medium, the artists’ book has carved out a space for itself since the 1960s as an independent art genre.

In the exhibition Artists’ Books: The Collection, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is for the first time presenting a selection of the best-known publications from its collection of some 1,700 exemplars. The collection got off to its start with minimal and conceptual works in which artists including Sol LeWitt, Ed Ruscha and Lawrence Weiner put their serial and conceptual ideas between the covers of a book in the 1960s and 70s. The Fluxus movement then transcended the usual book format as artists integrated a variety of other media such as music, poetry, actions and happenings as well as spontaneous improvisations. Like the score for a piece of music, the book plays a significant role here as mediator. Artists also began to draw on ordinary everyday materials and methods such as stamps, cut-outs, photocopies, collages and mechanical printing to craft their artworks in book form. The book became a favourite experimental field for trying out new concepts. At the same time, books undermined the hierarchy of the art market, as they are affordable for everyone. The artist’s book therefore stands like hardly any other artistic medium for the democratisation of art.

In addition to the freedom from commercial pressure, the notion of the book as an 'alternative space' has attracted young artists in particular to this medium in recent years. Many are founding their own publishing houses, producing books in small editions and experimenting with new formats. Artists’ record albums as acoustic medium are also enjoying a renaissance.

Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg


Additional:

Albert Oehlen

Theft is Vision (group show)
LUMA Westbau, Zurich
18 November 2017 - 4 February 2018

The notion of Theft establishes a site of investigation. This exhibition examines the desire to appropriate – a fundamental theme in the production of art. Throughout art there are typologies that ensue from the appropriation of motifs or of other works of art. As just one form of aggressive theft, the act of citation was already a cultural strategy long before Appropriation Art manifested itself.
At LUMA Westbau the following questions are posed from a contemporary perspective:
What are the genres established through appropriation today? What does stealing mean for artistic production? Is it an act of removal and subtraction? Or can it be a productive strategy as suggested by the art history of Appropriation Art? In the context of this exhibition, Theft is presented as dialogues and translations between artists. In essence, the exhibition confronts two opposing concepts in appropriation: the desire to appropriate as the idolization of sources or as an attack on and subversion of the established.

LUMA Westbau, Zurich


Richard Prince

Richard Prince: Untitled (Cowboy) (solo show)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
3 December 2017 - 25 March 2018

In two photographic series from the 2010s, publicly exhibited for the first time, Richard Prince (United States, b. 1949) continues his career-long engagement with the motif of the cowboy. Untitled (cowboy), recently acquired by LACMA, and Untitled (original cowboy) achieve the grandeur of 19th-century history painting while also deconstructing the iconography of the American West. Once again challenging the conventional meanings and limits of the photographic medium, Prince reignites debates he sparked some 40 years ago.

In the mid-1970s, Prince was an aspiring painter working in Time Inc.’s tear sheet department, clipping texts for magazine writers. After he removed the articles, he was left with advertisements: glossy pictures of commodities, models, and other objects of desire. Between 1980 and 1992, Prince paid particular attention to the motif of the cowboy, as depicted in a series of advertisements for Marlboro cigarettes. Prince began to re-photograph the advertisements, cropping and enlarging them to make limited-edition prints as artworks of his own. Prince’s re-photography had an explosive effect on the art world, provoking lawsuits and setting auction records. With this controversial practice, he redefined what it means to “take” a photograph.

For his 2015–16 Untitled (cowboy) photographs, Prince revisited copies of TIME from the 1980s and 1990s using contemporary technology. In contrast to this studio-based manipulation, for the 2013 series Untitled (original cowboy) Prince went to Utah, seeking out quintessential viewpoints established by legions of photographers—tourists and artists alike—who preceded him. Extending his interrogation of this particular American protagonist into the era of Instagram, Prince demonstrates that the stakes around originality, appropriation, and truth in advertising are as high as ever.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles


Albert Oehlen

Palazzo Grassi, Venice (solo show)
From 8 April 2018

The exhibition lays out a path dedicated to Albert Oehlen’s production through a selection of approximately 85 works, including some lesser-known ones, created between the 1980s and today. The works brought together come from the Pinault Collection as well as from other major private collections and international museums.

The unique exhibition path is not chronological but rather suggests a syncopated rhythm between various genres and periods, thereby underlining the central role played by music in the artist’s practice. Music emerges as a real metaphor of his work method, where contamination and rhythm, improvisation and repetition, density and harmony of sounds become pictorial gestures.

Palazzo Grassi, Venice


Christopher Wool

Being Modern: MoMA in Paris (group show)
Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris
11 October 2017 - 5 March 2018

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Fondation Louis Vuitton announce the first comprehensive exhibition in France to present MoMA’s unparalleled collection: "Being Modern: MoMA in Paris", on view at Fondation Louis Vuitton from October 11, 2017, through March 5, 2018.
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Established in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art was one of the first museums devoted exclusively to the visual arts of the time. ''Being Modern: MoMA in Paris’’ represents the wide range of artworks that MoMA has acquired over the decades, ranging from the early defining movements of the modern art period to Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop art and digital works of art.

Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris


Christopher Wool

Unpacking: The Marciano Collection (group show)
The Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
25 May - 24 December 2017

The inaugural exhibition of The Maurice and Paul Marciano Art Foundation draws from the Foundation’s collection of over 1,500 artworks, bringing together an international, multigenerational roster of artists who are among contemporary art’s leading creative and critical voices. With the rise of Los Angeles as one of the twenty-first-century’s global centers for artistic practice, the Marciano Art Foundation has a vision to transform the former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple into a forum dedicated to this thriving community.

Conceived and organized by guest curator Philipp Kaiser, UNPACKING takes its title from German philosopher Walter Benjamin’s 1931 essay, “Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting.” Benjamin’s text emphasizes that any order is a balancing act of extreme precariousness. UNPACKING showcases the breadth and depth of the collection while simultaneously creating a loose order where a multitude of meanings collide with a historic site, exposing unpredictable connections. Two underlying thematic threads lead the viewer through the walls of the temple: one focusing on works that emphasize the process of their creation and another to the artists’ archaeological impulses. The abundance of process-based works connects the artists in the collection to an artistic legacy that characterized much of the art of the late 1960s, while the archaeological impetuses point to a prevailing tendency by artists to operate in an investigative mode, mining complex ideas of the artwork’s site and temporality.

The Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles


Richard Prince

Proof of Life (group show)
Weserburg I Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen
20 May 2017 - 25 February 2018

The construction of the Tower of Babel as a massacre. The artist as a dead revolutionary. A stained-glass window made from butterfly wings. Proof of Life brings together 100 paintings, sculptures and photographic works that investigate existential questions in a both palpable and profound manner. Their aesthetic impact inevitably draws the viewer into its spell. What these works bring to view is linked to a tradition of influential pictures, some of which go far back in time. The presented works simultaneously quote, seduce, irritate, provoke and thematize concepts of moral values. This includes a summons not only to situate in historical terms what is being seen, but also to relate it quite concretely to the present. The works come from a private collection that has never before been publicly presented in this form.

Proof of Life raises the question as to whether and why such images anchored in our memory are still relevant today. The exhibition shows how striking pictorial models are updated in a surprising manner and transformed into new visual inventions. The artistic results are simultaneously fascinating and shocking; the aesthetic experiences they make possible are complex and revelatory. They become documents and symbols of our present era and thus vital signs of contemporary culture.
“The exhibition derives its strength from the impact of the pictures, which in no way excludes deeper insights but instead fosters them. The works don’t immobilize us in wordless veneration but cause astonishment, questioning and doubt which we relate directly to the present. Fundamental questions raised by this exhibition are how art possesses this capability and why certain age-old motifs don’t become petrified manifestations in a museum but instead remain extremely lively.” Peter Friese, Director of the Weserburg

Weserburg I Museum für Moderne Kunst, Bremen