Art Picks:
Bizarre Fabrics, Old Heroes, and New Encounters

ArtMag presents current exhibitions in which artists from the Deutsche Bank Collection participate or which are held at partner institutions. In February and March, the focus is on legendary artists, styles, and ideas that still have an influence today.

When one of his teachers at The Cooper Union School of Art asked him what the most important theme of his artistic work was, Nick Mauss replied: “influence.” And that is still true today. “I am really voracious when it comes to looking and reading. I love so many things.” At the invitation of Kunsthalle Basel, the New York artist curated the exhibition Bizarre Silks, Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts, etc., which deals precisely with these influences. And as always with Mauss, who is himself a legend with his poetic and supersensitive drawings and exhibitions, the emphasis is on an alternative, queer modernist canon, on proximity to applied art and on radical subjectivity.

It’s a bit like Ray Johnson's artist book Ray Gives a Party from 1955, which is also on view in Basel. Illustrious visitors come, but so do intimate friends and unexpected guests. In the case of Mauss, the guests might include the Dada icon Hannah Höch, William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, the sewing machine painter Konrad Klapheck, and the legendary feminist artist Ketty La Rocca. Mauss is present like a host. He produced huge gates, painted geometrically and creatively, which stand in the room and elegantly direct one’s gaze to specific works and combinations. The greatest discovery, however, are the poetic minimalist fabric sculptures and assemblages of the conceptual artist and feminist Rosemary Mayer (1943-2014), who founded A.I.R. Gallery in New York in 1972, the first gallery run by a women’s collective. Mauss has an unerring instinct for overlooked artistic positions. You can rest assured that Mayer will soon be the talk of the town.

Charlotte Posenenske had a similar fate. Although she exhibited with Hanne Darboven and Donald Judd and played a decisive role in shaping the discourses of Conceptual and Minimal Art, her oeuvre has not become as well known as that of her contemporaries. But that is changing now. MACBA Barcelona is the first European museum to present the retrospective Charlotte Posenenske: Work in Progress, organized by the American Dia:Beacon art museum. The critically acclaimed show documents how Posenenske approached industrial minimalism with her modular steel, cardboard, and pressboard sculptures. She was not only interested in anonymous, reduced aesthetics, but also in making prototypes from mass-produced materials that could be reproduced in unlimited numbers. The buyer was supposed to arrange the artist’s sculptures him- or herself. Thus, Posenenske radically questioned the role of the artist and the hierarchies of the art business. She saw her "Striped Pictures" made with adhesive tape on cardboard, such as horizontal/vertikal (1965) from the Deutsche Bank Collection, as predecessors of her metal sculptures created from 1965 onward—the beginning of a short yet unique art rebellion. Starting in April, the exhibition will subsequently be on view at the Kunstsammlung NRW in Düsseldorf.

In addition, Munich’s Haus der Kunst is honoring Franz Erhard Walther, a pioneer of participatory art and forerunner of Pop Art who activated spaces and people with his textile sculptures and installations, with a show titled Shifting Perspectives. With the exhibition Raymond Pettibon: And What is Drawing for? the Tel Aviv Museum of Art is showing works by the bad boy of contemporary American art, whose drawings are not only inspired by the West Coast punk scene, underground comics, and film noir, but also by William Blake, John Ruskin, and the poems of Walt Whitman and Edgar Allan Poe. Furthermore, Pettibon is a fierce critic not only of Donald Trump but of all the American governments, which he has caricatured with bitter anger. Meanwhile, the National Gallery of Victoria is dedicating a superlative double retrospective to two of the greatest art stars of the 1980s: Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Their links to music, fashion, performance, and clubbing are documented, as well as the way in which they used signs and symbols of mass and subculture to make socio-political comments and convey radical ideas. The exhibition ranges from early works from New York streets and subway stations to collaborations with Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, and Madonna.

With Gerhard Richter: Painting After All, the Met Breuer in New York is hosting an opulent exhibition of probably the most famous painter today. Encompassing over 100 paintings, the show traces Richter’s entire career and illustrates how he combines the medium of painting with photography, digital reproduction, and photography. In his installations, sculptures, and assemblages, the New York artist Tom Sachs combines graffiti and post-Pop aesthetics with consumer criticism and art history. At the beginning of the 2000s, he not only built toilets with the Prada logo and guillotines and poison gas sets in the Chanel look, but just as unabashedly quoted his idols Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian. In the 2003 exhibition Nutsy’s at the Deutsche Guggenheim, he had model cars race around a racetrack between models of Le Corbusier’s Unité d'Habitation, DJ booths, and a homemade, fully functional McDonald’s. Now a major retrospective at Schauwerk Sindelfingen offers visitors the opportunity to reassess Sach’s work, which in retrospect is not so Pop-like at all, but astonishingly minimalist and modernist.

Last but not least: He is one of the most important Mexican artists, but scarcely known in Europe. Now the Stedelijk Museum is showing the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work in Europe, titled Carlos Amorales: The Factory. Amorales, who is represented in the Deutsche Bank Collection, began as a conceptual artist. He reinvented himself as “Amorales,” a figure with a wrestler’s mask ego, into which he also let other artists or acquaintances slip. Using the mask and a new identity, they staged wrestling performances both in real competition arenas in Tijuana and in museums such as the Tate Modern in London or the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In the early 2000s, he founded his own studio in Mexico City, an art factory in which he and a staff of collaborators create installations, sculptures, paintings, drawings, videos, prints, animations, and sound works. The works are always about the role of the artist, the conflict between individual needs and social restrictions. Amorales’ work, shown in 14 rooms at the Stedelijk, has an immersive and thoroughly decorative effect yet is also politically charged. A real discovery.

Bizarre Silks, Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts, etc.
Until April 26, 2020    
Kunsthalle Basel

Charlotte Posenenske
Work in Progress

Until March 8, 2020
MACBA Barcelona
&
April 3 – August 2, 2020
Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf

Franz Erhard Walther
Shifting Perspectives

March 6 – August 2, 2020
Haus der Kunst, Munich

Raymond Pettibon
And What Is Drawing For?

Until April 25, 2020
Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat
Crossing Lines

Until April 13, 2020
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Gerhard Richter
Painting After All

March 4 – July 5, 2020
The Met Breuer, New York

Tom Sachs
Timeline

Until April 26, 2020
Schauwerk Sindelfingen

Carlos Amorales
The Factory

Until May 17, 2020
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam