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Record number of visitors to the final exhibition - End spurt to the opening of the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle
Imran Qureshi: Celebration in Lahore
"Formica Touched It Off" - On the Death of Richard Artschwager
Deutsche Bank Celebrates Collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Polish Contemporary Art at Museum Morsbroich
International Artists at the Villa Romana
Art on Wheels - The Vochol at the ArtSpace of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt
Second-hand images - Joachim Schmid at the Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea
Art and Diplomacy - Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards Artists from the Deutsche Bank Collection
In spring of 2013 the "Deutsche Bank KunstHalle" opens in Berlin with the "Artist of the Year" Imran Quereshi
Poetry and Politics - Yto Barrada at Fotomuseum Winterthur
Look at Me! Schirn Explores the Private Sphere

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“Formica Touched It Off”
On the Death of Richard Artschwager



Is it Pop Art? Minimalism? Or perhaps Conceptual art? Richard Artschwager’s work cannot be pigeonholed. His sculptures look like furniture, or paintings, and his paintings look like sculptures. He vehemently rejected any categorization. “That makes me surly,” he said succinctly in an interview with ArtMag. The large retrospective of the artist’s work at the Whitney Museum in New York had just ended when Richard Artschwager died in New York at the age of 89.

Many of Artschwager’s works are included in the Deutsche Bank Collection. A selection was shown in the 2003 exhibition Up and Down/ Back and Forth at the Deutsche Guggenheim. Aside from works on paper, sculptures were on view at the show. One was a man-high cross. The sacred symbol was not executed out of walnut wood, as the surface suggests at first glance. Instead, Artschwager used one of his favorite materials, Formica, industrially produced laminated panels, whose surface often looks like wood. “It was Formica that touched it off. Formica, the great, ugly material, the horror of the age.” Artschwager knew the material well, having worked as a furniture maker in the 1950s. For him, Formica was the ideal material for distorting artworks and puzzling viewers, as it can imitate any material. The trivial substance drives the aura out of an artwork.

Artschwager was born in 1923 in Washington, the son of a German botanist and a Ukrainian hobby painter. He studied biology and registered for military service in Europe in 1942. At the end of the war, he took part in the liberation of Kassel. Between 1968 and 1992, he would participate in the documenta in that city five times. After finishing his art studies, Artschwager first worked as a furniture maker, building transportable ships’ altars, among other things. This gave him the initial impetus to design wall objects made of wood and Formica.

Another important instrument of confusion are Artschwager’s “Blps” – two- or three-dimensional forms reminiscent of capsules. Emerging in his work in the early seventies like an absurd logo, they can be found in his paintings, on walls of exhibition rooms, and on factory chimneys. For his most recent Whitney exhibition, Artschwager installed the “Blps” along the High Line, the aerial greenway on the west side of Manhattan. Like almost all of his works, these black or white “capsules” have only one function: to sharpen our perception of the world and the things around us. With Artschwager’s passing, the art world has lost a great maverick who was also an “artist for artists,” inspiring generations after him.

The large retrospective mounted at the Whitney Museum will be on view at the Haus der Kunst in Munich starting in October.




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Feature
"In difficult situations art can be really powerful" - The "Artist of the Year," Imran Qureshi, in an interview / Auratic Cabinet of Curiosities - Rosemarie Trockel's Art Cosmos at the New Museum / Viaggio in Italia - Photography in the Deutsche Bank Collection in Milan / "Disguising the Obvious" - Amy Cutler's Enigmatic Drawings / Imran Qureshi, Deutsche Bank´s “Artist of the Year” 2013 / "If everyone likes it, then I´ve done something wrong." - Anselm Reyle at Deichtorhallen in Hamburg
On View
“Saxony – Works from the Deutsche Bank Collection” at the Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig / Pigments, Wax, Steel - Anish Kapoor at the MCA in Sydney / Originality and a Radical Desire to Experiment - Visions of Modernity at the Deutsche Guggenheim / New. New York - Art from Brooklyn at the Essl Museum
Press
"A Success Story" - The Press on the Deutsche Guggenheim's Farewell Exhibition and on the New "Deutsche Bank KunstHalle"
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