Richard Prince et al.
Peter Piller – Richard Prince
Museum for Modern Art, Weserburg
19 June – 31 October 2021
With Richard Prince (*1949) and Peter Piller (*1968), two artists focusing respectively on American myths and the realities of life in Germany — different generations, diverse worlds —, there is an encounter at the Weserburg Museum for Modern Art between two extremely original artistic oeuvres offering exemplary presentations of life and thought in and through pictures.
Cowboys, rockers and their girlfriends, pictures full of macho eroticism, chauvinistic cartoons and stereotypical cars on the one hand. Plots of land for future development, unpleasant neighbors, fleeing birds and office drawings on the other. Significant visual values are juxtaposed with absurd images of everyday life. In terms of both form and contents, the pictorial worlds of Prince and Piller could scarcely be more different.
Yet alongside these obvious, radical differences, it is the surprising similarities and comparable artistic strategies that make an encounter between Prince and Piller so fascinating. Both artists use images they find in the media — such as press- or advertisement-photos — that they appropriate and transform into art. Prince ever since the 1970s, Piller starting some twenty years later. Questions regarding authenticity and originality are addressed along with the influence of pictures on our imagination of reality. Desires, fantasies and the superficialities of everyday life are brought to light — with both merciless harshness and analytical subtlety.
Peter Piller values the “advantages of a lack of intention.” In his archives, he accordingly collects amateurish press photos of unspectacular situations with regional significance. He shows aerial views of German residential areas or redesigns the cover of the military magazine Armeerundschau from the days of the German Democratic Republic. These are documents of a petty-bourgeois society which, seen with Piller’s eyes, turns out to have grotesque characteristics. Recently he has turned his attention to black-and-white pictorial documentation of cave drawings, the oldest traces of human civilization.
In contrast, Richard Prince creates seductive symbols of America. He as well prefers to work serially. His Marlboro cowboys, Playmates or cars catch our eye as auratic individual images with strong visual impact. Here the “American dream” of individual freedom is still alive; there is a collision between images of women and male fantasies. Many of his works seem disturbing at a first glance. They are eye-catching, direct and, in a certain sense, immediately comprehensible. At the same time, however, they are characterized by an intellectual precision and ambiguous complexity that only gradually becomes apparent.
The exhibition at the Weserburg is extended in a separate room with Peter Piller’s first sound installation. It can be interpreted as a both pensive and humorous reference to our overly stimulated and breathless media world. What is to be heard is a compilation of excerpts from the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach in which the word Geduld (“patience”) is sung from time to time and echoes long afterwards.
Museum for Modern Art
Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Julian Schnabel et al.
THE 80s. Art of the Eighties (group show)
Albertina Modern, Vienna
10 October 2021 – 13 February 2022
A major exhibition on the 1980s at Albertina Modern bears visible witness to an era that saw artists shatter established paradigms and set off in search of expressive diversity.
1980s art seeks to overwhelm: it was an era of visual excess, individual styles, and never-ending stories. All this went hand in hand with exuberant imagery, a strong narrative urge, and an enthusiasm for the exploration of materials and new media.
Artists such as David Salle and Julian Schnabel gave rise to the painting-as-fiction. And in the oeuvres of artists like Francesco Clemente and Mimmo Paladino, eclecticism prevails across numerous works independent of time and place. One finds quotations with origins ranging from antiquity to the present that serve to accentuate the non-authentic and invest the familiar with new meaning. The central exponents of this decade—Jeff Koons, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Julian Schnabel—are present here alongside less-known figures well worth discovering, including Jack Goldstein, Isolde Joham, and Julia Wachtel. The quotation, the distrust of originals seen in the oeuvres of Richard Prince and Elaine Sturtevant, and the art of sampling as practiced by Gerwald Rockenschaub and David Salle show to just what extent the 1980s were indeed the most important decade of recent art history in terms of art’s subsequent path forward.
The loss of immediacy owed to a world growing more and more virtual and developing bit by bit into a media society is also reflected in an art of the simulacrum: the verisimilitude of pictures from the realms of high and low art is generally called into question, with artists such as Sherrie Levine and Cindy Sherman grappling with the phenomenon of the likeness per se and thereby inventing a second-degree reality.
Urs Fischer, Richard Prince, Rudolf Stingel et al.
Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, Paris
22 May – 31 December 2021
Works by Urs Fischer and Richard Prince are included in the inaugural exhibition at the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, which is on view from 22 May until 31 December 2021.
Urs Fischer’s installation, Untitled (2011), is presented in the Rotonda, in the monumental heart of the Bourse de Commerce. This is the first time the work has been shown in France. Fischer has redesigned Untitled to suit the scale of the space: a “public square” covered with a dome, reaching almost 40 metres in height.
Photographs from Richard Prince's Cowboy series are presented in the gallery on the first floor, along with a selection of series and ensembles from the 1970s to 1990s.
The Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection is the latest museum in a network of sites and initiatives developed by François Pinault since 2006. It offers a perspective on the contemporary art collection he has amassed over the last forty years, through a unique programme of exhibitions and events.
Bourse de Commerce