Summary January 14 - 21

New Museum: Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century The New Museum in New York reopened on 1. December 2007 at the corner of Bowery / Prince Street and shows an exhibit that complies with current marketing standards and inflationary curator-models. “Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century” is the first out of four parts of the “Unmonumental” cycle, which explores the reinvention of sculptural assemblage. The New Museum`s curatorial team of Richard Flood, Massimiliano Gioni, and Laura Hoptman organized the exhibit. The museum moved from Soho to the Bowery and now consists of four stories of white cubes stacked one atop the other, separated by a large elevator. Three narrow hallways guide you around the elevator and lead to an amply designed main room, which seems rather small for American standards. The New Museum offers an architectural scenario strongly reminding of the galleries in Chelsea, amplified when you use the elevator, respectively the staircase. But unlike the Chelsea galleries, you will find similar sculptures on every floor here, all assembled with trash and everyday objects, and if you want to identify the artist you are forced to read the adjoining wall labels. Isa Genzken`s work stands out among these sculptures, and the strong European participation becomes apparent when viewing works by Sarah Lucas, Jim Lambie, and John Bock. New Museum New York 10002, NY, 235 Bowery, until 30. 03. 2008 www.newmuseum.org Kunstmuseum Stuttgart: Match - Otto Dix and the art of portraiture Trillhaase en famille One would be interested to know how the Trillhaase`s dealt with their family portrait. He a cross-eyed soldier, she a withered old hag, the son a flat skulled simpleton, all crowding around a dorky side table with old-fashioned little chairs in front of brocade wallpaper. The whole thing set in a lousy photo studio with yellowed laced curtains and pseudo-antique architectural décor. But Adalbert Trillhaase was an artist, a kind of German Rousseau. Trillhaase is one of many people, largely already forgotten, who we encounter on Dix`s portraits. The gay jeweller, the Saxon businessman, the dancer, and the unsuccessful author - the exhibit itself does not reveal any details about them, but we can go home and google their names. While portraits compared to other classical art forms were undervalued at that time, they played a central role for Dix. Examples that originated in the ancient world, and foremost German Renaissance portraits by Cranach and Hans Burgkmair, are also exhibited at the Kunstmuseum. In addition you can see numerous portraits created by Dix`s colleagues, among them celebrities such as Kanoldt, Schlichter, Kirchner, and Hubbuch or the less known unconventional expressionists such as Hanns Ludwig Katz and Carl Lohse or a posthumous portrait by the Brücke-artist Otto Mueller painted by the constructivist Johannes Molzahn. One could do without the contemporary art exhibit on the third floor showing works by Bacon, Warhol, Richter, Thomas Ruff, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Rineke Dijkstra. There is no relevance of their work to the topic portraits. But all in all it is a highly recommendable exhibit, widely acclaimed by the numerous visitors. Kunstmuseum Stuttgart 70173 Stuttgart, Kleiner Schlossplatz 1, until 06. 04. 2008 www.kunstmuseum-stuttgart.de Hamburger Bahnhof: Roman Signer - Works from the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection in the Hamburger Bahnhof and loans He who plays with the fire One can say what one wants about Christian Flick. For example that it was not just his inner altruistic philanthropist that made him lend his collection to the Hamburger Bahnhof. It was not just his common civism, but also his common business sense, that convinced him to do so - knowing that the value of his treasures are most likely to rise and not to fall. Flick has proves to be the same cool mathematician and calculating strategist when trying to increase the value of his art capital as he was when he was increasing his investment capital. He is someone who exclusively buys into established products, art historically approbated, and guaranteeing a lasting value. He does not burn his money by speculating or investing in objects that are too contemporary and therefore have no future. This man definitely does not love risk. Roman Signer, the Swiss solitaire, on whom Flick`s collection focuses, is in marked contrast to him. Signer is still a child, even if he is already 70. And like every child he loves to play. He is usually involved in a type of synthesis of absurd play and joyful science. These characteristics are based on his socialisation in the arts during the 60s; an era in which Neo-Dada became virulent and some artists began to slip into the role of scientists to attain real social relevance. In any case, both art movements aimed at uniting art with life. That is why Signer enjoys integrating commonplace objects into his own art system - rubber boots, kayaks, often things to which he has a personal relationship, and exposes them to the most absurd experimental configurations. He lets himself be pulled by a car in a kayak, right next to the waterway, across the riverside road or practices playing “battleships” while sitting in another kayak, or shoots a woollen hat from his head with a rocket that was attached to it, or launches another rocket, which one can only identify through its horizontal vapour trail, right through a forest. These are the kinds of crazy games and experiments Signer undertakes and they all have an uncertain outcome. This uncertainty makes it most advisable that the majority of his adventurous actions are conducted in the absence of an audience; their distinct poetic charm is meant more for the camera. Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart - Berlin 10557 Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 50 - 51, until 27. 01. 2008 www.hamburgerbahnhof.de Fotogalerie Wien: Provocation? III - Culprit Katharina Daschner Unhappy king`s children People say that those who have been imprisoned for child abuse are at the bottom of the ladder. When discussing this taboo topic, politicians, especially right-winged politicians, quickly have instant solutions at hand. It is therefore no surprise that the newspaper “Die Welt” accused Thomas Jonigk to have “charged an open door” when his play “Culprits” was first performed at the Hamburg Schauspielhaus in 1999. On the basis of this drama Katharina Daschner has now developed a photo installation at the Fotogalerie Wien. For a long time Daschner enjoyed playing with disguises and skewed productions, now she concentrates on formal reductions: a crochet dress whose skirt is covered with textile and dysfunctional dildos reminds strongly of her former work. In a forest in which tree trunks seem to grow beyond the ceiling, Eva Jantschitsch as well as Sabine Marte, members of Daschner`s sensational band “SV Damenkraft” (Ladies Power) sing a sad song about the king`s children who are dying. This is meant as a reference to the two children in Jonigk`s play who are both trying to deal with the abuse they had been forced to experience. Sentences, which confuse the perpetrator-victim dichotomy, appear on photo paper, and objects - such as knives, aerosol cans and rolling pins - in this context all turn into obvious phallus symbols. A short glimpse at the mattresses, innocently decorated with stars and flowers, and one of them with pale bloodstains, suggest a voyeuristic view of something very private; an explanation, however, is denied. The objects reveal nothing but their material presence. The design of the crochet dress, which one can only eye through a narrow slit, can be interpreted in two ways: the drooping phalli convey a feeling of helplessness, while their vast quantity underlines their omnipresence. Daschner`s work is fascinating on account of these kinds of ambivalences. Even if she has delivered more complex and dense installations in the past. Fotogalerie Wien 1090 Vienna, Währingerstrasse 59, until 30.01.2008 www.fotogalerie-wien.at/a>

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