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>> A Storyboard for 45 floors

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William Sommer: Two Dancing Figures, ca. 1924,
Deutsche Bank Collection

Considering that it's been a nearly two- year hiatus since the bank had its core business offices downtown, this re-unification process is an amazing accomplishment. The achievement has much to do with the collaboration not only of the curatorial group of Ariane Grigoteit, Friedhelm Hütte and Liz Christensen, but also with the bank's employees and their responses to the art. As Liz Christensen noted: "We have two separate floors of meeting-and dining rooms which have internationalism as their themes and are available for all employees, clients and visitors to experience." In addition, talks are given by exhibiting artists throughout the year in which employees and their guests are invited to participate. This is an extension of a program that flourished in midtown during the past several years. In order to realize this "migration" project, Liz Christensen had to work both theoretically and with a careful eye to the reality of the physical space. While initial concepts were mapped out on her computer, Liz's final decisions were ultimately based on whether or not a particular work functioned in its planned environment.


Lee Krasner: Twenty-four Hours Dark, 1981,
Deutsche Bank Collection

While renovated floors clearly presented an ultra-minimal design, other floors, such as the 20th floor, inherited rich wood paneling and slatted shutters. Here, a combination of William Sommer watercolors called Three Dancing Figures from 1923 sits opposite Lee Krasner's famous series, Twenty-four Hours Dark, from 1981, painted in oil on canvas. What comes across here and on other floors is the emphasis on a cross-cultural dialogue that happens by virtue of mixing up and reorganizing often classical art historical divides.

A very rare and unusual Eva Hesse gouache from 1963 can also be found here as can Alfred Jensen's famous number series, Second Version of 5760 Days: 360 = 16 Solar Years, from 1977, done in oil on paperboard. If one didn't have to work, it would be easy indeed to spend the day wandering the hallways or sitting and looking at the Lawrence Weiners.



Alfred Jensen: Second Version of 5760 Days: 360 = 16 Solar Years, 1977, Deutsche Bank Collection

While the 20th floor is pure elegance, offering a deep sense of reserve, the trading floors immediately plunge the viewer into super-action. Just before entering the most intense Hollywood-esque series of monitors, and lcd signs, ( Michael Douglas in Wall Street immediately comes to mind), a view of New York discretely presents itself in full panorama reminding everyone why getting to the top is worth the struggle. Liz Christensen admits that "it's visually overloaded" inside the trading floors. She did, however, find a quieter adjacent wall to locate a series of Imi Knoebel cut-outs that seem to provide a much needed calm and humor.

Like the act of making a film, the job of curating 45 floors is all about understanding sequence, audience and dialogue. Success happens by coming up with large ideas, making extremely educated guesses and then following up with the physical action of being an excellent editor.

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