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>> Pipilotti Rist at the Hara Museum / Ten Years Deutsche Guggenheim
>> Jeff Wall "Exposure"

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Other artists have addressed the conflict-ridden liaison between artist, commissioning body, and work. As an artist, how can one lay claim to this patronage on the one hand, reflect upon it critically on the other, and still make a good exhibition? An interesting situation for everyone involved. In 1998, James Rosenquist painted one of his best-known later works for Deutsche Bank: The Swimmer in the Economist ironically reflects upon the cycle of economic value. Bill Viola, known for his moments of sublimity in film, created a fresco for the 21st century from light and pixels: although conceived before September 11, 2001, the video installation Going Forth By Day seemed to have become a commentary on current events. The exhibition hall was suddenly both a chapel of worship and whole-body cinema, a visual all-around experience that was powerful and consuming. The public was deeply impressed.



Bill Viola, Going Forth By Day (detail), First Light, 2002
Video / Sound Installation, Photo: Darin Moran,
© Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin / Bill Viola


Looking back over the ten-year exhibition history of the Deutsche Guggenheim, what most stands out is the remarkable capacity for transformation the room presents with each new exhibition. Architecturally situated somewhere between white cube and museum wing, the hall is actually quite difficult to master, whether it’s a matter of installation, photography, or mixed-media arrangements. The space doesn’t make it easy for artists and curators. But perhaps that’s precisely the challenge that has so often led to surprising concepts and individual solutions: Tom Sachs’ intervention, for instance, resembled a culmination of the collective teenage dream. With Nutsy’s (2003), he transformed the Deutsche Guggenheim into an amusement park complete with hamburger stands and racing tracks, turning the authoritarian order to "clean up your room" upside-down – disorder has to be created here, on the double! With his famous / infamous "traps," Andreas Slominski left the building in 1999 to install an ambiguous work outside, a sawn-down linden tree on Unter den Linden. The accompanying edition, a do-it-yourself sprinkler system with instructions, was quickly sold out.



Tom Sachs, Nutsy's, 2003, Installation Shot
© Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin / Tom Sachs


To this day, the idea of making art accessible to all with the Deutsche Guggenheim editions has found a new form forty times over. Here, too, the institution has worked out ideas together with its curators and artists, some of which the artists have used again later: Kara Walker’s edition, a brass silhouette that was sold out very quickly, was successfully reissued seven years later by her and her gallery in a similar way. Like Neo Rauch, Kara Walker is an excellent example for how the Deutsche Guggenheim attracts attention to artistic positions early on that are only presented in large institutional frameworks some time later.


Rachel Whiteread, Transient Spaces,
Untitled (Apartment), Detail, 2000 / 2001
Photo: Mathias Schorman,
© Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin


This October, the artist has a solo show at the Whitney Museum in New York; in Berlin, her controversial works were already on view in 2002. Now, along with Ellen Gallagher, she’s the most influential African American artist of the present day. And newcomers such as the young New Yorker Phoebe Washburn, whose commissioned work Regulated Fool’s Milk Meadow transformed the Deutsche Guggenheim this summer into a cross between a biotope and a re-cycling factory, might very well attract comparable attention.

Yet the desire now is not to rest upon the successes and pioneering deeds of the past ten years. For the Deutsche Guggenheim, the anniversary reinforces its aim to reach new target groups. When Jeff Wall shows his latest works commissioned by the Deutsche Guggenheim in November, pupils between the ages of 12 and 15 will be invited to participate in writing competitions – an age group that is often neglected by pedagogical museum projects. With the catchphrase "I like Mondays," free admission on Mondays – a day on which other institutions are all closed – will make it possible for more people to explore art that might not do it under other circumstances. And so, the celebrations commemorating the tenth anniversary also, of course, embody a look to the future. Under the motto "Art Spaces for Tomorrow," high-caliber museum people, collectors, and experts from all around the world will meet with Thomas Krens, the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, to discuss new paths in the presentation of art. But also in terms of everyday activity, one has to think about what a thematic direction can mean.



Bruce Nauman: Theaters of Experience, 2003, Installation Shot,
Photo: Mathias Schorman,
© Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin


The collaboration between Deutsche Bank and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation was recently renewed for another five years. "We are going to continue to concentrate on contemporary art," director Friedhelm Hütte says, alluding to the fact that the US will continue to play an important role in the exhibition program. Thus, an exhibition is planned for 2008 in which a renowned contemporary American artist will be invited to curate young positions from the US. And who knows: maybe the Deutsche Guggenheim will once again be a springboard for an artist’s world fame – in any case, it will remain a place that sets standards with its spirit of curatorial discovery.

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