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"Road Trip Through American Counter-culture"
The Press on Freeway Balconies


In the exhibition "Freeway Balconies" at the Deutsche Guggenheim, Collier Schorr presents her own personal selection of works from the current American scene. The show focuses on positions that examine themes such as performance, representation, and appropriation. The artist-curator combines a number of her own works with the works of stars like Richard Prince and Bruce Nauman as well as many newcomers. At the same time, "Freeway Balconies" paints a disturbing portrait of American society and an evocative self-portrait of Collier Schorr herself. The exhibition experiment at the Deutsche Guggenheim proved convincing to the critics.

"Right now, probably the most brilliant expert on pop cultural performances in identity"-this is how Eva Karcher characterizes the American artist Collier Schorr, whom she has dedicated a two-page portrait to in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Schorr conceives identity as something borrowed, something that one appropriates and stages, as though in a performance." "Schorr's analytical genius lies in her translations of the increasingly complicated relationship between image and identity. In the era of YouTube, identity is no longer a consistent factor." In his preview of the show for Monopol, Daniel Völzke describes the artist's strategy: "Schorr dressed young German friends in uniforms of the SS or the Bundeswehr, or in fantasy uniforms. On another occasion, she asked a boy to assume 'feminine' poses (…) the tension between the photographer and her model are palpable in the images, which evoke an atmosphere of possibility and the fleeting nature of identity and certainty."

The subversive aspect in Collier Schorr's work is also reflected in her selection for Freeway Balconies. For instance, Claudia Funke of the taz writes: "Parody, distortion, and irony, poses and costumes are the means implemented both in the private and public context. The artists of the show use these means to question social norms and to facilitate new ways of seeing things that seem given, giving rise to a political dimension." For Tim Ackermann of the Welt am Sonntag, the exhibition by the "hippest photographer to date" is like a "road trip through American counter-culture." And for Jens Hinrichsen of the Tagesspiegel, the show reveals the "brittle identities of a superpower at war." In their review Nicole Büsing and Heiko Klaas of the Berliner Morgenpost stress the critical image of America conveyed by the broad group exhibition. Schorr portrays "her country as a land of inner turmoil caught in a deep identity crisis."

"Wonderfully untidy" is how Christiane Meixner of Zitty describes the show, which to her mind centers chiefly around "prescribed identity and rebellious revolt." For Meixner, it is "a curatorial attempt that is both subjective and well-done." "A show as self-portrait?" Elfi Kreis of the Kunstzeitung asks whether this experiment can succeed and concludes that it can, "if the curator hands the scepter over to the artist." But the "complex stories" the exhibition tells "can't be simply consumed. 'Freeway Balconies' consists of a web of intertwined avenues of thought, and it's well worth the viewer's effort to untangle them." And in art, Elke Buhr sums up her impression of the artist curator's "radically subjective selection": "Schorr combines the young generation with the classics and makes the group show at the Deutsche Guggenheim into a true gesamtkunstwerk."