Page 15 - Studio International - July August 1971
P. 15

fragmentary critique of method would be worse   This spring in                         Happily the museums made up somewhat for
         than none at all. The plan of extending the                                          all this. They undoubtedly offer more
         study of the three visual approaches to reality   West Germany                       exhibitions, and a wider variety, than their
         to include film and theatre as well is still very                                    counterparts in any other European country.
         much in the air. It is now clear that the   Robert Kudielka                          The decentralization of German artistic life has
         long-running avant-garde theatre festival,                                           an advantage in that it leads to rivalry between
         Experimenta, was financially supported by                                            cities and provinces in the field of museum
          Frankfurt interests only so long as this                                            policy. And of course there is more money for
         satisfied their need for local prestige; the                                         large and expensive joint projects.
         support has now gone.                                                                  The exchange of important exhibitions is
            Most qualified observers in Germany                                               now the rule : at the beginning of the year a
         consider that it would be a national disgrace if                                     Jacques Lipchitz retrospective and a
         the most comprehensive attempt at definition                                         documentary show on revolutionary French
         of a cultural position ever made (`The Visual                                        architecture travelled round the country;
         Arts in Society') were to be forced by public                                        exhibitions of Mark Rothko and Kurt Schwitters
         meanness to produce only fragments. The lack                                         have
                                                                                              have just done the same. To strengthen and
         of interest shown by industry and trade unions                                       deepen this kind of collective enterprise, seven
         in any cultural events other than regional ones,                                     institutions formed an exhibition union in May.
         will be adversely compared, especially in                                            The cities of Leverkusen, Wuppertal, Duisburg,
          Germany's 'international year', with what                                           Münster, Bielefeld and Kiel, and the Haus am
         happens abroad, particularly in America. And                                         Waldsee in Berlin, propose to plan and carry out
         why do the world's great collectors not invest                                       their future exhibitions in concert. It is
         in the international development of art, instead                                     particularly encouraging that a Berlin
         of simply buying things for themselves ? The                                         organization is included; since the West Berlin
         government has dug a little deeper into its                                          art scene has no other real contact with the
         pocket than before and given 1,900,000 marks;                                        federal area. The exhibition 'London Now',
         revenue should produce another 1,700,000 :                                           which was shown in Berlin this spring, has
         which leaves 2,100,000 marks to be found. What                                       unfortunately had little impact elsewhere.
         is more, as a result of inadequate supervision at                                      In spite of this general pluralism there are
         the last Documenta, the insurance companies                                          naturally some parts of the German museum
          have put up their premiums by as much as                                            world which are more important than others.
         13o per cent.                                                                        In the west there is the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf,
            The specialist staff will have to be seconded                                     which this spring put on retrospectives of
         from outside; there is no one in Kassel. The   This spring was a season for museums.   Bridget Riley and Jim Dine; the Museum am
         individual sections will have independent   Retrospectives and representative survey   Ostwall in Dortmund continued its series of
         organizers who will provide their own staffs;   exhibitions dominated the scene; contemporary   national representative shows with 'Eleven
         and now that a number of museum directors   art entered a creative pause; the private galleries   Italians' (two years ago they showed 'Marks on
         have expressed interest, the dealers will follow   vainly held a finger to the wind.   Canvas' by English artists); so too the
         suit before long. The existence of firmly    In the Cologne Galeriehaus the most     Kunsthalle in Cologne, which from May to
         circumscribed briefs will make it possible to   important months—March to May—were taken   June showed 'German Painting in the
         avoid empire-building and the inefficiency that   up by repeats, stopgaps, and the gallery's own   Nineteenth Century'. The comparatively s
         accompanies it.                            ready-made goods. Heiner Friedrich confined   Haus Lange Museum in nearby Krefeld
            The big question-mark is the artists. No one   himself to a single highpoint in March, when he   occupies a rather special position; its director,
         has hitherto been permitted to make an official   showed an excellent installation by Dan Flavin.   Paul Wember, is well known for his
         approach to any artist in the name of      Neuendorf continued his West-Coast mission   uncompromising support of experimentation in
         Documenta 5. Will, for example, Arno Breker,   with Richard Yokomi and Kenneth Price; an   art. In March he showed the Austrian group
         an artist who worked under Hitler, allow   escapade with Darby Bannard did not make him   'Haus-Rucker-Co', who, with imagination and a
         himself to be brought in for the purpose of that   see the light. Ricke, with exhibitions by Keith   lavish use of technical resources, presented a
         `coming to terms with the past' which was the   Sonnier and Giorgio Griffa, once more   model of the conditions under which man might
         main theme of German literature for two    demonstrated his loyalty to an avant garde which   possibly one day live, should the destruction of
         decades, but which has never taken place in   operates on the brink of the Void. Onnasch on   the environment continue. This almost
         art ? Will Constant and Nicolas Schöffer allow   the other hand, newly arrived from Berlin, put   astronautical environmental piece was the most
         themselves to be placed in the same category   his faith in the proven saleability of Edward   exciting exhibition in Germany this spring. And
         (Reality of Representation, subsection Utopia) ?   Kienholz and George Segal, while Thelen   it is revealing, in the present context, that this
         In general, will the artist consent to go beyond   imported, with Alex Katz, the massive boredom   exhibition was not actually an art exhibition.
         merely showing his work to the best possible   of the New Realism. Only Muller and Wilbrand   Especially among the younger German artists,
         advantage and seek a role within a context ?   broke through the predominantly American   a state of confusion exists which is probably
         In a conception which seeks to place public,   orientation and gave German artists a chance.   unique in post-war history. In many art schools
         expert and artist on a footing of equality, will   While the Kineticist Wilding and the painter   the students refuse to take part in any manual
         the artists, who are against all pedestals, consent   Jochims were at Wilbrand's (two aesthetes of   activity; instead they discuss the impossibility of
         to step down from their own ? We shall see how   the old guard), Muller presented his new   producing true art in a capitalist society. Group
         serious the leading artists are about wanting   discovery Stefan Wewerka. Wewerka's   projects are still approved of, since—in theory at
         social effectiveness. If they aren't, a lot of   Lecktschuring Holl (sic), an ensemble of tilted,   least—they seem to offer a contribution to the
         third-rate artists are going to acquire market   distorted chairs, ought really to be bought by the   elimination of bourgeois individualism. In
         value as a result of Documenta 5.         Cologne dealers themselves. Perhaps some of   practice they hardly ever produce valid solutions,
         TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY             them would then realize how contorted their   as the yearly youth prize (Kunstpreis der
         DAVID BRITT                               posture in the art-world really is.        Jugend) exhibition showed. The prize this year
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